September 9th, 2009
10:48 PM ET
12 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. Avi shlomo

    Wilson reminds me of Israel democracy. Not only he should apologize to the President but to hos colleagus and the Country. As we may disagreed with the ommander in cheif civility is warranted and this man should be censored as he broke all norms of civil discourse. Perhaps he should immerse hismself in some disctaor deomocray so he could undersatnd and appreciate beinga citizen of a civilized country. Shame on you, you are nothing but a disgrace to this union.

    September 9, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  2. Nea

    That whats makes me believe that some in the Republican Party are the ones thats leading on these town hall meetings thats opposing Health Care Reform. Rep. Wilson sounded just like some of them yelling out to cause distraction.I JUST PRAY FOR OUR COUNTRY RIGHT NOW ALSO I PRAY FOR CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT THAT THEY WILL COME TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY,LET SHOW OTHER COUNTRIES THAT WE ARE A BETTER NATION.

    September 9, 2009 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. BG

    I totally agree that he needed to apologize. Even John McCain said he needed to apologize. I liken this incident to kids on a school yard daring someone to say something just to make a fool out of them.....guess what? It worked!!

    September 9, 2009 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. Steph

    Where do I send my campaign contribution to Mr. Miller?

    September 9, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. Vicki

    Since the other eye of the State of South Carolina has been blackened by GOP Rep. Wilson's embarrassing behavior tonight during the President's speech, what more should we expect?

    September 9, 2009 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. Yusuf

    The level of disrespect to this president and often violent and evil rhetoric is unprecedented in my memory of treatment of other presidents. For a moment I thought I was watching the British Parliament. What is so different about this president that he gets so much hatred after always showing so much poise? I have my opinions, but I will keep them to myself.

    September 9, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. Warren

    Joe Wilson comment was the most disrespectful comment I can remember. He owes America an apology. I understand everyone is not in favor of his health reform, but to yell "YOU LIE" is UN-AMERICAN!

    September 9, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  8. tonyt

    The GOP has No Shame!

    How embarrassing for SC

    GOP Town HAll Moment, I'm Sure The Haters love It!

    Nice Job Tonight, Mr. President.

    September 9, 2009 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  9. Rick Lozano

    Joe Wilson acted in the worst way possible towards The President, and to every American. The people in his district, his state and the Republican Party do not have the representation that they are entitled to and deserve.

    September 9, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  10. Robert

    If he shouted that when Bush was president, he would have been taken straight to an undisclosed location and tortured. And who was that idiot texting during the speech?

    September 9, 2009 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  11. Perusing-through

    Say it ain't so Joe . . . say you didn't embarrass the State of South Carolina. Please, say it ain't so Joe 🙁

    September 9, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  12. Joanie No Baloney

    We need to stop vacationing/doing business in SC immediately to discourage this rampant rudeness NOW. This was certainly not the forum for such reprehensible behavior. The president deserves respect-no matter what a person's political beliefs may be. SHAME SHAME SHAME!!! Email the oaf and tell him how you feel (if you can get to his website since it has been very busy since he opened his big mouth!)

    September 9, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  13. peggy

    Not only is it right that he apoligize but he should also be sanctioned for his immature, disrespectful and totally inappropriate behavior toward the President of the United States. What kind of an example do our children have when adults supposedly in positions of great responsibility and authority are permitted to act in this manner without sanction ? No wonder we can't get healthcare reform !

    September 9, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  14. carina in ga

    GO MILLER GO!!!!! when will the GOP learn? when congress is 100% democrats?!!

    September 9, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  15. robert Pohlmeyer

    This is just another example of closed mined republican that are un willing to except the truth when it is given to a national audience and complete disregard and disrespect for the office of the President regardless of party.. If a dem had done it during a W speech we would never hear the end of it.

    September 9, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  16. Richard

    Boo to Joe Wilson. What a Jerk. Respect the Office!

    September 9, 2009 11:04 pm at 11:04 pm |
  17. Not Surprised

    Typical from the ReTHUGlicans!

    If a Democrat did this to Bush, Wilson would have labled him a traitor!


    September 9, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  18. kd

    Good luck, Mr. Miller. Clearly, the people of South Carolina are not represented well by Wilson. Time for him to go.

    September 9, 2009 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  19. Bill Michael

    Joe Wilson doesn't need to apologize and he shouldn't have done so. You can always tell that President Obama is lying because his lips are moving.

    September 9, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  20. RetardedDemocrat

    Are people this hypocritical? I am an independent. That said, every person I engage with on the health care issue "emphasizes" on the fact that it is a moral responsibility and a fundamental humanitarian requirement that one should support health care for all. Then they turn around and conveniently say *NO* health care to illegal immigrants!! This is hypocrisy at its best.

    In my book of moral code, anyone coming to a hospital or a doctor should not be refused treatment. To all the republicans and democrats – stop your stupid political games and be honest for once.

    Provide care for everyone – legal or illegal.

    September 9, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  21. sc coast gal

    Let's just send all our SC legislators far as possible... Joe Wilson has always been a partisan hypocrite. At least tonight he showed that side to the entire civilized world. I guess maybe we should be glad because now anyone with any sense at all won't vote for him again....One can only hope!

    September 9, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  22. Don't do it Joe

    Just goes to show you wide the gap is between the citizens and White House.

    WH is not in touch.

    September 9, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  23. Mike in Ga.

    I hope that this guy does not get re-elected. He did not represent his constituents well in this instance.

    September 9, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  24. Jon K

    What a disgrace. You are an embarrassement . How did you ever earn your seat in this meeting of great leaders when you yourself acted like such a childish fool? You make me lose faith in the Republicans as a whole. You are a disgrace by your actions which you cannot take back and no matter how many apologies you offer, I don't believe your heart is complient with those apoligies. I think you are in this business for your own interests.. to line your own pockets with money from special group interest cash.. you crooked, bitter hearted politician.. resign and make America a better place.

    September 9, 2009 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  25. brian holcomb

    He needs to be on Jerry Springer, not in Congress. What a bufoon. He needs to resign for the embarrassment to his party and the people of SC, He is eligable for censure since it was a joint congress and all the rules apply and he was not yielded the floor. I hope Biden does it. Outrageous.

    September 9, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
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