September 11th, 2009
08:15 AM ET
13 years ago

Wilson apologizes again to Obama, says he didn't 'snap'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Wilson apologizes again to Obama."]

(CNN) – A day after heckling President Obama during his address to a joint session of Congress, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, said Thursday that he regretted the outburst, but stood by his belief that Obama had misrepresented elements of the health care bills.

"I truly had to speak out," Wilson said of his decision to shout out: "You lie!" during Obama's speech after the president proclaimed that illegal immigrants would not be covered under Democratic health care reform proposals.

"I didn't snap either, because if I'd snapped I would have kept on objecting," the congressman said. "But I didn't."

Asked if he regretted his comment, Wilson said, "Oh, yeah I wouldn't do that – I wouldn't have planned it or done it again."

Wilson said the proper way to respond to Obama's remarks would have been to hold a news conference after the address.

"People know that I am respectful of the president. I'm respectful of the office of the presidency. But I am just very passionate about the issues that I believe in and I know what was stated was inaccurate."

During the interview, Wilson described the language in two House bills crafted primarily by Democrats as "feel good wording about illegal aliens. It has no true enforcement capability, no meaning."

As to whether he should be reprimanded by his fellow House colleagues, Wilson noted that he immediately apologized. The congressman added that he didn't mean to interfere with the president's speech.

And even though he took exception with parts of Obama's speech, Wilson praised the president's closing of it.

"The conclusion of the speech was actually inspiring," he said. "As the speech went on, from my perspective, it got better."

Wilson made his comments Thursday evening during an interview with Columbia, South Carolina radio station 560 WVOC-AM.

Filed under: Joe Wilson • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Preston VA

    I can not believe I voted for obama, I admitt I was fooled by his campaigning.

    September 10, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. GOPer

    Joe Wilson is one pathetic individual.

    September 10, 2009 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  3. Bernie Moore-Knowles

    "People know that I am respectful of the president. I'm respectful of the office of the presidency. But I am just very passionate about the issues that I believe in and I know what was stated was inaccurate."

    Right...............classless idiot.

    September 10, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  4. Brandy

    Oh please.. Now he's just trying to keep his seat next year. Give me a break. He knew it was doing... and he did it anyway. Why he keeps saying he respects the pres. is shocking.. because he proved to everyone he doesn't.

    September 10, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  5. Chipster

    Ironic: the President and most liberals will forgive something that the Republican right wing would never forgive in a million years. Yet, most of them call themselves Christians.

    Besides, like most of the weird claims being made, this is utter nonsense. Illegal aliens would never risk signing up for a government health care program unless they have false documents. If they have false documents, they can sign up for anything and no one is likely to ever know.

    Another irony: Republicans never, ever make any effort to arrest American business owners for hiring illegals and it IS – uh – illegal!

    September 10, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  6. Avram

    Imagine what the reaction would have been from Republicans if a Democrat had yelled "you lie" during President Bush's "yellow cake uranium" speech.

    September 10, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Barbara

    Being passionate does not mean being disrespectful. However, Wilson just said out loud what the Republicans think. The Republicans do not want bipartisanship. They want to be in control, no ifs ands or buts about it. Bipartisanship for Republicans mean doing it their way or the highway. Can't wait until they are in control again so they can whine about how the Democrats are obstructionists. Concerned about the "cost" of health care reform, too bad they weren't as concerned about a war where the bigger lie was told that cost not only monetarily, but in bodies and major injuries.

    September 10, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  8. Rick3

    Too bad more in Congress don't have the courage to call it like it is. Wilson is a hero in my book because for the first time someone in Congress has challenged the lies that are being told. Obamao's health plan WILL provide health care for illegal immigrants but he being a Harvard lawyer is weazle-wording by ignoring the passage that permits health care for "undocumented workers." What the hell is the difference? Maybe you so-called progressive dilitants can answer that for me – an indie that now hates Obamao because his true colors are appearing and they ain't black they're green with the money he is stealing form you and me and my children and grandchildren. You go Joe!! Maybe some of the other members of Congress will get some balls and start "calling him" on his blatant lies.

    September 10, 2009 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. Steve

    Apoligize for the timing, but not the content! THE PRESIDENT IS A LIAR, and most of the country knows it. But he is not alone, virtually all of Congress , from both parties, are liars too.
    We need to flush them all!

    September 10, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  10. TN for Obama

    The Taliban are present in America. They go by the name "Republican."

    September 10, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  11. Disgusted

    No matter what Joe Wilson accomplishes from now, until the day he dies, his life and his career will be summed up by those two words.

    September 10, 2009 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  12. Post always rejected by CNN

    And it all his speechs, his letters his remarks,,,bush never lied. Oh come on, it was proven that what Obama said was the truth about illegal aliens. But that's another of the republicans LIES that the democrats have to rebut to get people to support health care.

    Some republicans and every single republican in congress will never support a health care bill that HELPS THE GENERAL PUBLIC. Now if it was for the benefit of big business they would roll and jump thru hoops to get it approved.

    September 10, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. realiTcheck

    This was unbelievable and disrespect in the highest degree to the office of president. I believe that he should apologize on national television to the American people for the display of disrespect for the office he holds and to the disrespect to the American people. I am neither democrat nor republican, and I feel the display put on by the Republican party was very childish and very immature. It should not be tolerated the way they are acting. They are turning our government into a circus act. If he disrespects the president that way how does he expect diplomats from other countries to respect our president and our nation with that kind of foolishness and irrational behavior taking place during the president's address. Never in the history of America, that I can recall, has a president been disrespected in this manner. I am floored by this display of buffoonish decorum.

    September 10, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  14. Celobrity

    Not good enough for me. Rep. Wilson does not seem genuinely sorry at all and seems to only be using the media time that he's getting so that he can apologize to continue to argue his point and defend his shameful conduct.

    September 10, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  15. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    You call that an apology? He respects the office of the Presidency; he just doesn't respect "President" Obama.

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. Mike

    What did you apolgize for you Hypocrite??? You obviously were not sorry.......nor do you have a resolve for the issue of Health care.......just another trouble maker with no solution............

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. Hey Hey, Ho Ho, the G O P has Got To Go...

    Awesome – when I tell my boss he is a liar and he tries to fire me, I'll simply say that "I'm passionate about this issue."

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. farah

    If this is what the new republican party is they can have it. I truly stopped listening to this party I supported for so long. It is shamefull that the party is being destroyed by Joe Wilsons and there are a lot of them in GOP.

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Matt

    "People know that I am respectful of the president."

    YOU LIE!

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  20. Wendy

    I am from South CaroIina, and I was so embarrassed for South Carolinians by Mr. Wilson's loud name calling outburst during a speech. I voted for John McCain, and Mr. Wilson embarrassed the republican party. I teach school, and I feel that Mr. Wilson is not a role model in showing students how to respond intelligently under certain situations.

    No wonder some of the kids in school are showing this negative behavior in the classrooms toward teachers while they are lecturing.

    I hope the country would not hold South Caroinians as being ignorant, because all South Carolinians do not act like Mr. Wilson. Pray for our country, because these type of people like Mr. Wilson are so biased, yes, I am white, but I can see it now.

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  21. Catherine Ryan

    You call that an apology. Wilson sounds like an abuser who laments- Oh, I not a bad guy I'm just passionate. So Mr. Wilson, who are these people who know you are respectful to the president or the office of the president. It certainly is not our current President, nor from the look on his face when you shouted, our current Vice President. Certainly not the public of the United Sates of America who were watching and heard your disrespectful behavior.

    September 10, 2009 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  22. Tony from Michigan

    The GOP just gets better!

    September 10, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  23. Matt

    The only liar in this one is Joe Wilson. Not only is he a liar, but he flat out misrepresents the FACTS of TODAY.

    Illegal's and people with NO health insurance already get their healthcare paid for by the American Tax Payer due to the FACT that it is ILLEGAL for a County Hospital to turn away a patient because of a lack of Insurance.

    But don't believe me, look it up yourself and become informed about the FACTS of this healthcare debate. If you do that, you will see clearly that the Republican party and these so called "Blue dog Democrats" are nothing more than shills for the Insurance industry. Vote everyone of these liars out of office in's your civic duty.

    September 10, 2009 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. CathleenF

    So, it was "spontaneous," as stated in another article. However, he didn't snap. LOL What a performance, and he's getting all the attention he wanted (and planned on getting). Very dramatic, and I hope his conservative constituents don't fall for these games. Time to be adults and work on real health care reform.

    September 10, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. MS

    It saddens me to hear a representative excuse his behavior as being passionate. There is no excuse for poor behavior. Politicians take athletes to task for being poor role models to our children, shouldn't they be held to a higher standard of behavior . The republicans will do anything to prevent the president from attaining any success inorder to further their politcatl agenda. After the speech the rep Wilson sent a letter out for fundraising where republicans will award his boorish behavior with money. The republicans really don't care about the ordinary poor people. They toute the Bible & invoke God whenever it pleases them. Most republicans should go back to school & be taught on how to co-exist in society with other people and also take debate classes. Republicans are tcreating a dangerous precedence by their uncivilized behavior, where we'll be no better than Japan where fist fights are the norm of the day. The heckling is usually seen in third world countries. Surely, we are better than this, what happened to agree to disagree or call someone aside for a discussion? Obama should sue the rep for slunder.

    September 10, 2009 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |