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. J. R. Heil

    I may be mistaken, but retired Army National Guard colonel Joe Wilson may still be subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Under Article 88 (Contempt toward officials), he may have committed a violation of the UCMJ by uttering disrespectful speech ("You lie!") toward the President.

    September 10, 2009 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. Jon Krieger

    When the liberals would heckle president Bush during any number of his speeches it was called 'Freedom of speech' and now that ONE guy dares to stand up to saint Obama it's 'embarassing behavior'?GIVE ME A BREAK!

    September 10, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  3. Louise, SC

    Joe Wilson--Boooooooooooooooooooooooo.

    September 10, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  4. phillip bias

    I always know that it was wrong to tell the truth in DC
    Well joe you told the truth and both parties showed why we need to clean out washington next year. put obama's plans to an end in 2010
    get rid of the dems in 2010 , get rid of republicans in 2010. time for all new faces

    September 10, 2009 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  5. Luke Brown

    Joe Wilson is a disgrace to our state. As if his pal Mark Sanford hasn't brought enough ridicule to South Carolina, Wilson jumps into the national spotlight to remind Americans that he is an even bigger jerk..

    What does it take for the voters of this state to realize why they have the worst schools, the least safe roads, and the highest unemployment?

    September 10, 2009 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  6. an independent

    Joe - Shame on you!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2009 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  7. Rob Stumpf

    Wilson just said what millions of Americans were thinking. Obama is full of baloney.

    September 10, 2009 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  8. billp

    Should Wilson be defeated for re-election next year, he'll get a cushy job with the RNC or some conservative think tank for taking the fall on this.

    The GOP Congressional leadership regularly boasts about their party discipline. It's highly unlikely that this was an unauthorized outburst.

    More likely, behind closed doors Wilson jumped be the one to heckle the President when they were looking for a volunteer. If it wasn't received well, then he would say he was acting alone and take the full heat.

    The purpose has been served; red meat has been thrown to the base, and Wilson will be rewarded.

    September 10, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  9. Reagan was wrong

    Hey GOP, remember that swell idea ol' Dick Nixon had back in the day, when you'd get all those angry white southern folk to come on over to your side by pandering to their basest prejudices?

    Well, this is what it's gotten you.

    September 10, 2009 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  10. jason

    Really? You want to go there?

    We caught Carol’s husband last year relishing the thought of a hurricane striking New Orleans during the Republican National Convention. A week later, Carol Fowler said Sarah Palin’s only qualification to be Vice President was that she hadn’t had an abortion.

    Are we really going to let Carol Fowler lecture anyone on decorum? The woman is a dirtbag.

    September 10, 2009 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  11. m french

    Why must politicians be restrained from expressing their opinions at a Presidential speech. The President should be made accountable when he or she states an untruth. Mr. Wilson was expressing his disgust at Obama's constant mistatements. He says we can all keep our insurance companies under his plan, but this is a LIE. All private insurance companies, after 1 year, must prove that their coverage matches that of companies in the Public Option. If their plans do not compare, according to some bureaucrat, they will no longer be able to offer coverage to clients. It states that in the bill, if anyone would bother to read it. How stupid he thinks we are. He does lie, and I don't hold anything against Mr. Wilson for saying so. I'm sick of the President's fabrications.

    September 10, 2009 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  12. suzyku

    Wilson does represent everything that is wrong in Washington. Hope he loses big time and takes the rest of the rethugs with him!

    September 10, 2009 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  13. Grrr-awful-o

    Wilson was wrong to shout at the president during his address to Congress and the nation. But Obama doesn't get it either. He's hanging on to this vast right wing conspiracy notion about people who don't want this health plan. There are plenty of people who have decided on their own that they don't want this change. And they're not being manipulated by the right wing. And it's insulting to hear him put it that way. He'll get a bump from the speech – that always happens – but it will evaporate before it comes to a vote.

    Change that we can believe in: tort reform to reduce insurance costs and bring down rates; allowing cross state purchases of health insurance to foster competition; eliminating denial of service for pre-existing conditions. Why not allow these changes? But the government control – NO!

    September 10, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  14. Carole Menninger

    The man is awesome! He is thoughtful, realistic, articulate and willing to reach across the isle to bring about, FINALLY. real health care reform to this country, affordable coverage for every American........something so critical and long overdue. Now, it will be up to the conservatives in this country and the Congress to admit something all of us in the public have known for years......and to vote and pass legislation that will include some kind of public option before the year is out.

    Thank you President Obama!

    September 10, 2009 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  15. rapotat

    It's a given that Rep. Wilson can kiss his career good-bye. When will the GOPers learn? This behavior has gotten so out of hand and with no GOP leadership in sight, it will only continue.

    Amazing how the GOPers continue to sink themselves with such reckless abandon...

    September 10, 2009 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  16. T-Ruff

    Your conduct during the Presidential address was extremely immature and deplorable. You are a terrible representative for our state of South Carolina. Your conduct suggest to our youth that it is ok to be disrespectful if you disagree....What message does that send to our youth, what message does that send to our country...You are unfit to represent the great state of South Carolina.

    September 10, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  17. Pragmatic

    Another false apology! Immature republican is incapable of disagreeing without being disagreeable ... no sense of time or place – just yells out like he was at a football game or a heckler at any nightclub. No class.

    September 10, 2009 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  18. Gopsaurus

    I don't even live in S.C. but I'm donating $100 to Rob Miller's campaign.

    September 10, 2009 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  19. Cathy in TX

    Wilson may have been fustrated or adamently disagreed with the President's statement, but he is a leader that represents Americans and should be conciencious of how he responds or behave. I am glad he apologized but it draws concern on how many other times have he acted on emotion before logic ?

    September 10, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  20. KD in Houston

    It's okay. He must have thought he was at a Palin rally where it is often seen as tactful to yell things like this to president of the united states of america. this is america, and we do have freedom of speech; he only stood to make himself look bad. god bless america.

    September 10, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  21. rtvrsrl

    I think Joe Wilson was right he just happened to verbalize what others were thinking while President Obama was speaking. The only thing he should apologize for is not shouting it louder. I know that I was thinking it, but then I seem to think that alot when I hear President Obama speak.

    September 10, 2009 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  22. Republican shame

    What has become of the Republican party? Joe Wilson was very disrespectful to our President of the United States and to all of U.S. citizens who do not have healthcare or are medically bankrupt. Wilson should give solutions instead of making ignorant coments.

    September 10, 2009 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  23. laurie

    Didn't know who Rob Miller was until tonight. Now here I am in Arizona contributing to his campaign thanks to Mr. Wilson. Google search Rob Miller South Carolina. Don't let this behavior stand, take action. Was a disgrace to the great state of South Carolina.

    September 10, 2009 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  24. Dorothy Dotson

    I don't know anything about Miller, but I hope he beats Wilson. Joe Wilson shamed his state, his country and his president.

    September 10, 2009 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  25. shannita

    i am a foreign viewer and its ridiculous to see the amount of hate these so called god loving idiots of the south spew and i think the POTUS is doing a good job

    September 10, 2009 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
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