September 9th, 2009
10:48 PM ET
14 years ago

First on the Ticker: GOP heckler blasted by 2010 challenger

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democrat hoping to unseat South Carolina congressman Joe Wilson in next year's midterm elections quickly seized on the Republican's shout of "You lie!" during President Obama's health care speech on Wednesday.

"Representative Wilson's behavior tonight exemplifies everything that is wrong in Washington," Democrat Rob Miller said in a statement provided to CNN. "Instead of engaging in childish name-calling and disrespecting our Commander-in-Chief, Joe Wilson should be working towards a bipartisan solution that makes quality, affordable health care available to each and every South Carolinian.

Miller added: "He owes both the President and the people of this district an apology for his embarrassing behavior during tonight's speech."

Wilson apologized to the president after the speech, calling his comments "inappropriate and regrettable."

Miller, a 13-year veteran of the Marine Corps, gave Wilson the toughest re-election challenge of his career last year in one of the country's most conservative congressional districts. Miller lost by eight points, and decided to challenge Wilson again next year.

National Democrats are also looking for a win: Wilson is on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's 2010 hit list.

Wednesday's commotion is likely to give both candidates a financial boost. Miller's supporters quickly took to Twitter and urged Democrats to support the campaign, while Republicans on the Web urged their readers to donate to Wilson.

Erick Erickson, the conservative voice behind, called Wilson a "great American hero." South Carolina Democratic party chairwoman Carol Fowler, meanwhile, said Wilson gave the state yet another black eye.

"Once again a South Carolina Republican has embarrassed our state," Fowler said in a statement, making a nod to scandal-plagued governor Mark Sanford. "Never has any member of Congress shown such disrespect for the president during a speech."

UPDATE: Miller's campaign says they have raised $40,000 since Obama's speech ended tonight.

Filed under: Joe Wilson • President Obama • Rob Miller • South Carolina
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. Richard Andrew Alderman

    It is dissapointing to see any congressman act out like this...this is Congress... and we expect congress to act decently, with respect for each other at all times. He deserves to lose the next election.

    September 10, 2009 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  2. No Hillary = No Obama

    What is it about the Obama presidency that has disinhibited people to this point? This is more than just about the behavior of one congressman. Look at the anger at these town hall meetings. CNN and Fox have successfully divided the nation by polarizing propaganda. News organizations? More like propaganda peddlers. This is now a nation divided.

    September 10, 2009 02:31 am at 2:31 am |
  3. Bob Hammond

    The elephant in the room is that Congressmen across the board will still keep their own plan, as if it's beneath them to participate like the every-day Joe.

    September 10, 2009 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  4. Taylor B1

    I'll be sending my donation to Mr. Miller tomorrow. That said, Rep. Wilson's stupid behavior will turn out to be yet another gift to the Democrats from the frantic and frustrated GOP. I wonder how many
    "hits" Rep. Wilson will get on YouTube in the next week...and in the months to come.

    September 10, 2009 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  5. steve young

    president obama did an outstanding job of clearly presenting his plan. which i will vote for.
    the republicans continue their quest for the 1950's. it is sad. and disruptive to our process of government. unfortunately they appear to continue their techniques of lie and deny. way out of step with the main stream.

    September 10, 2009 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  6. Peoples Voice

    Take his stupid butt behind the woodshed and teach him a lesson he'll never forget.

    September 10, 2009 02:46 am at 2:46 am |
  7. Jon Krieger

    When liberals heckled Bush during his speeches it was 'Freedom Of Speech' when someone dares to disagree with saint Obama it's 'rude,embarassing behavior'!What's wrong with this picture?

    September 10, 2009 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  8. Anonymous

    Why should he apologize for telling the TRUTH!!!!

    September 10, 2009 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  9. Molly

    Joe Wilson – a poster child for what is wrong with the Republican party and why it is out of power. The republicans offer no solutions to the problems of our country. All they do is criticize and deliberately misinform people and in Wilson's case, put on an outrageous display of rude, disrespectful behavior. He should be prevented from attending future speeches of the president if he is unable to control himself and behavior in an appropriate manner. Democrats never did this when Bush was president.

    September 10, 2009 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  10. Pat

    Wilson's comment was disgusting. A Congressman should respect the office of the President, if not the man who holds it. A disagreement on policy is fine, even possible noble, but to shout out an insult like a heckler at a third rate comedy club is beneath the dignity of the Legislative Branch.

    Especially when the bill in question does not contain the language Wilson claims it does.

    September 10, 2009 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  11. Gene in Dallas

    I never liked president Bush. I didn't vote for him. I thought he was incompetent. But despite that I never would show disrespect to anyone like the way Wilson did, president or not. As an ex Marine, whether you are a cook, supply clerk, infantryman, general, you never disrespect your commander in chief and the American people. You can disagree or question authority in a tactful way, but never in a childish manner. I only hope that Wilson's behavior does not tarnish what good name us Marines have left.

    September 10, 2009 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  12. Libertarian in AK

    President Obama misstated Sarah Palin's remarks and then said 'it is a lie.' Obama lied about her statements and then called her the lier.

    He deserved to be called on more of his fanciful speech.

    Obama needs to get used to this label because the polls show he is not fooling most of the people on healthcare.

    September 10, 2009 03:59 am at 3:59 am |
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