January 5th, 2014
10:21 AM ET
7 months ago

Romney accepts MSNBC host's apology

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney took a conciliatory tone Sunday when asked about an MSNBC panel mocking a family holiday card that showed him holding his adopted black grandchild, saying it is time to move on.

"People make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake and they apologized for it," Romney said Sunday in an interview on Fox News Sunday. "They apologized for it. That's all we can ask for."


A day earlier, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry made a tearful apology to the former Republican presidential candidate and his family after she and a panel poked fun at a photo of Romney with his wife and 21 grandchildren by zeroing in on his adopted African-American grandson. "Whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive, and showing the photo in that context, of that segment, was poor judgment. So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family," said the anchor at the open of her show, "Melissa Harris-Perry."

Harris-Perry became emotional as she went on to apologize to all "other families formed through transracial adoption," saying, "I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule."

She highlighted her own interracial background, as the daughter of an African-American man and a white Mormon woman. But, she said, families are always "off limits," and the Romneys' grandchildren should never have been a topic of discussion.

"Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off limits, and for that I am sorry," she said.

Harris-Perry first apologized on Twitter and MSNBC's website Tuesday, offering a similar mea culpa "without reservation or qualification."

Last week, Harris-Perry and panelists on her show made jokes at the expense of the Romney family. Perry asked her guests to come up with a caption for the Romney family photo, prompting actress Pia Glenn to sing "one of these things is not like the others" and comedian Dean Obeidallah to remark the picture "sums up the diversity of the Republican Party."

Obeidallah appears frequently on CNN and writes a regular opinion column for CNN.com.

Harris-Perry, for her part, described the baby as "gorgeous" and joked that in 2014 he would marry North West, the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

"Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws," she said.

Romney, the Republican Party's nominee for president in 2012, said his stature makes him a frequent target of attacks, but added that the barbs directed at his family crossed the line.

"People like me are fair targets. If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming," Romney said. "For children, that's beyond the line. I think they understand that and feel that, as well.

"I think it's a heartfelt apology, and I think for that reason we hold no ill will whatsoever," he said.


Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (618 Responses)
  1. OrmondGeorge

    PEC made a comment that perfectly reflects my understanding of the man.

    He did the honorable thing accepting MHPs genuine, heartfelt apology.

    January 5, 2014 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. ipopngraphics

    As progressive, I commend Mr. Romney on his graceful acceptance of MPH's apology. I too believe the man himself is of good character, in spite of his wealth and eccentricity. The fact that he allowed the Tea Party to puppet him notwithstanding, he would do well to distance himself from the hard right and Tea Party because he's not very good at pulling off their act.

    January 5, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  3. FidyCents

    MSNBC the station of hypocrites and race baiting liberals. What a bunch of sorry humans this group is.

    January 5, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Tom

    Romney is a class act! Those who don't like him need to actually read his positions and what he was able to do. He isn't what was portrayed in the press. It will make you sorry you didn't vote for him.

    January 5, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. JohnRJohnson

    I thought that Ironman59's comment was worth repeating:

    "Quite frankly he wasn't owed an apology. Where is his apology to all the people he put on the unemployment line? Where is his apology for trashing ACA while having his own state level ACA & praising Israel for their national healthcare? Simple fact is that the few if any convictions he may have had he sold his soul to the far right of the gop to get nominated. He deserves no apology. As the gop is found of saying to the rest of the country with people like duck boy "free speech".

    January 5, 2014 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. brian

    The medium is the message.

    January 5, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  7. FidyCents

    Would be nice to see a typcial photo of a progressive family. Full of progressive hillbilly incest and brothers marrying sisters to further the liberal agenda.

    January 5, 2014 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  8. erocks49ers

    Come on she gave her crocodile tear apology because thats what her publicist and MSNBC said to do. Everyone pities a crying woman. I ask again, would she have made those comments to Romney face. No. She knew exactly what she was saying.

    All to often people in both the left and right media think hiding behind a camera or mic gives them the power to say anything. Then they apologize and everyone suddenly forgets. If someone punches you in the face, laughs about, then apologizes only after an uproar, is it ok?

    January 5, 2014 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  9. IndyR

    The point is that the apology was not sincere. She states when did not mean it to be malicious and that is obviously a lie. She didn't apologize for what she did. She lied about it. The issue is we have people in the media who don't have the ability to disagree with others without vilifying them. That is at the heart of the issue. So by accepting the apology Mr. Romney insures that Ms. Harris-Perry will not change. That defeats the purpose of what an apology should do which is improve the person making the apology; I.E making that person a better version of themselves. This in-sincere apology does nothing for anyone.

    January 5, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. tony

    A wise move. A good move. A not terribly difficult move, or loss, iif you are that independently wealthy and powerful

    January 5, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  11. Mike

    Romney himself is the joke.

    January 5, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. Linus

    She keeps saying it wasn't her intent to offend. But what WAS her intent? Why is his family photo and the race of the child even being discussed?

    January 5, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  13. Tim

    And now, the media can close the book on this and try to find another example of racism to exploit!

    January 5, 2014 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  14. Garth

    Mitt accepted MSDNCs apology because he's the bigger guy and classy at that. He made all the liberals running the station look foolish and hateful and they are. Liberals are the real bigots in society. If this was Obama, he'd play the race card and exploit his own half black skin color, not to mention play victim and the news media would carry it to no end. This will be the only mention of this bigoted incident by MSDNC. It will go away quickly. It's clear the differences between liberals and conservatives.

    January 5, 2014 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. airjackie

    Who says old political tricks don't work in modern times. Mitt learned well from his Dad as his Father did have the large minority support as a candidate for President in the late 60's. Even President Kennedy was scared of George Romney who often spoke to minorities about his hard life and could relate to the struggle. Melissa's Father told her the truth of what politics was like when Mitt and I grew up in the 50's. Remember once the civil rights bill passed their was a large voting poll of people who some never voted in their life because they could not. With the help of trolls, Media and Journalist Mitt will work this in to his campaign for 2016. He will use the petty me and oh my black grandson for votes. Reading some of the comments the plan has already worked. Now it's on to put women in their place as he still supports Binders for Women. To bad Mitt did not have as much enjoyment for the new granddaughter his son gave him only the black child his other son adopted but color now matters to Mitt for votes anyway. I got to watch how that old game is played and Mitt did pretty good as the suckers still fell for it.

    January 5, 2014 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Monomachos

    Given the events of the past year in which we have learned how Mr Obama made lying a part of his re-election campaign and Obamacare is not what was claimed, a person has to be in serious denial not to realize that Romney would have been the much better president.

    January 5, 2014 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  17. Nothing wrong

    no appology needed for calling a kettle like it is.

    January 5, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. Nathan

    He is the man. I vote for him twice Because I do believe he can do the great job!

    January 5, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Nothing wrong

    Romney needs to prove that he is a citizen and not a subject of the moron church.

    January 5, 2014 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Guest

    JohnRJohnson, you think that because someone made policy decisions you disagree with it's okay to attack family members? That makes you a terrible human being.

    January 5, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  21. Greg

    It's only a "big" mistake because it involves his head.

    January 5, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  22. Name

    I wouldn't have apologized because to rich white women a black baby is the new Gucci bag

    January 5, 2014 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. G_Edwards

    Gov Romney is a class act. Same goes for both Pres Bush's, who refuse to criticize their Democrat counterparts.

    .

    January 5, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. patw2100

    Getting upset by a harmless joke. This shows how liberal Romney is.

    January 5, 2014 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. joedog

    And her tears a few days later after an obtuse apology on twitter are because she might lose her job or is she really sorry. She is a race baiter and this type of event will happen again.

    January 5, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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