September 12th, 2009
04:56 PM ET
13 years ago

Source: Joe Wilson racking up the dollars after 'you lie' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Wilson directly asked in a Web video for campaign cash to fend off attacks from political opponents and said he's standing by his opposition to Democratic efforts at health care reform."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson - the South Carolina Republican who heckled President Obama during his speech to a joint session of Congress - has raised more than $1 million, a campaign aide confirmed to CNN Saturday.

News of that cash haul comes after Wilson directly asked in a Web video for campaign cash to fend off attacks from political opponents and said he's standing by his opposition to Democratic efforts at health care reform.

Wilson has come under fire for shouting "you lie" to Obama during the Wednesday night address to Congress on health care reform. The lawmaker soon apologized for his behavior, viewed by Republicans and Democrats as an ill-mannered breach of political decorum.

The remark energized Wilson's opponents and supporters, who have been opening their wallets and sending donations to Wilson and Rob Miller, his Democratic opponent in next year's congressional race.

Miller - who has reported raking in more than $1 million as a result of the outburst - ran against Wilson last year, losing by 8 percentage points. It was Wilson's smallest margin of victory in his five elections to Congress.

In an e-mail to supporters Friday night, Miller said he had raised the money in small contributions in less than 48 hours - a total that dwarfs the $67,000 he has taken in during the entire first half of the year.

Wilson shouted "you lie" after Obama laid out what he said were "bogus claims" about health care reform "spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost."

"The best example is the claim made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but by prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Now, such a charge would be laughable if it weren't so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.

"There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," Obama said.

That's when Wilson uttered his now-infamous remark, sparking boos and Obama's retort: "It's not true."

In a YouTube video released on Thursday, Wilson said "on these issues, I will not be muzzled, I will speak up and speak loudly against this risky plan."

He said "supporters of the government takeover of health care and the liberals who want to give health care to illegals are using my opposition as an excuse to distract from the critical questions being raised about this poorly conceived plan."

–CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Joe Wilson • Rob Miller
soundoff (170 Responses)
  1. steven harnack

    And how much of that $700,000 is from vested interests? Do some reporting.

    September 12, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Centrist

    Rep. Wilson's behavior was immorally disgraceful for public office and now includes those who would support such dishonest lunacy. Shame on you!

    September 12, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. Debby

    Wow Wilson isn't far behind I guess all American's watched and watched the rerun of this incident instead of just the liberal looney left.

    September 12, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Debra R

    Aaron and Katie:

    last time I looked at the president's parentage; he listed his mother who raised him as white and his father who abandoned him and his mother as black.... that makes him bi-racial...and this was the way he described himself. Cut the racial crap. "Unless he hollered you lied you n-bomb" it's about the healthcare

    Where was all this outrage when a democrat (Henry Reid) called a sitting president a loser?

    Please remember that.

    September 12, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. DonnaLee

    Hey, if I call the House Minority Leader a warmongering son of a prolapsed ewe do you think campaign funds would suddenly materialize?

    So be it ... please send soon as my health care provider has just raised premiums beyond our ability to pay.

    September 12, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  6. Steve (the real one)

    I tire of the broken record "racist" label. Why can't the left understand it is about policy? Is that so hard to believe? I guess it is so much easier to scream racist or racism when that is your sole defense and you have nothing to offer by way of intelligent discourse!

    September 12, 2009 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. sonnie2

    Well this whole Wilson thing begin to look very suspicous.He said he opologise, Yet he was on t.v less than 24 hours after the incident
    cashing in on his disgusting behaviour.
    Now I think this whole thing was planned, it start to looks like a conspiracy.If it was,nt a conspiracy Mr wilson would not be cashing in
    on the whole thing.What a opportunist!!!!!!
    God help us all!!

    September 12, 2009 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. DA

    When will the media start reporting on what the Republican agenda is really about? It is about how they can't respect a Black man being the leader of the Free World? Also when will that Token Michael Steele wake up and see he is just an pawn in this game the GOP is playing? Dude man up!!
    I mean don't get me wrong i'm a bit of a Conservative myself when it comes to matter of spending on things that just don't help the American people, like the stupid Iraq war.
    HOWEVER, if the money is being spent to directly HELP the American HEALTH CARE then I'm all for it!!!

    So, to the media start reporting on what is the real agenda of the RNC, the extreme Right, and the Congressional Repubican Party because we all know this is about RACE plan and simple!!!

    September 12, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  9. b in FL

    Now can you give us the latest total for his opponent? I'm sure the insurance companies make up a large part of his $700,000. If this incident had happened when Pres Bush was addressing the Congress, that rep would have been banished forever...Faux and friends would have made sure of it!!

    September 12, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  10. Jerry

    Wilson is rude, stupid white trash.

    September 12, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  11. Jenn, Philadelphia

    How about the fact that Congressional Democrats immediately went to work on closing the loop-hole that they've claimed doesn't exist? Rep. Wilson apologized for being disrespectful during the President's speech, but he wasn't wrong.

    September 12, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  12. Ryan

    I just don't understand what this has to do with politics whatsoever. It's about general decency. How many democrats or republicans are ok with people shouting things during their own speeches. Will Joe Wilson be ok with people shouting "you lie" during his speeches, interrupting him? How about other republicans? How about any democrats?

    You can disagree, thats what the republican response was for. But allowing and accepting people to shout out during speeches is a slippery slope that will just lead to all discussions of politics degrading into shouting matches and no one being heard.

    September 12, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  13. Billk

    tell me without ramble how from 2 uttered words, you can demise that Joe Wilson is a racist? Is this how YOU want to be?

    September 12, 2009 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  14. anthony


    September 12, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. Richard-Arkansas

    Wilson and his family, including his four sons, are protected by single payer, government paid insurance through Tricare and the Defense Department. He is retired from teh reserves.

    If he was a real man and stood by his convictions, he would pay all of their medical care out of his own pocket but he is a Republican and their game is do what I say, not what I do.

    September 12, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  16. Scott_Mich

    I know civil discourse doesn't raise money in politics for the left or the right . . but I am interested in results. Stop the finger pointing and come up with a hybrid solution! If you actually suggested something . . a compromise could be reached.

    September 12, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  17. Tiffany

    I don't understand why it's apparently not possible to dislike the president's policies without being a racist. Can't I just not like them simply because they go against my own belief system?

    September 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. brian nash

    Shouldn't the headline be about Wilson's opponent raising $1, versus the republican raising $700,000? Seems a bit of CNN bias..

    September 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  19. Stephen

    This is typical of the minority's to CRY RACIAL. This has nothing to do with race and more to do with liberal lies that will destroy American.

    The liberals want to downgrade American's to the point that everyone becomes dependent upon Government. Wow, sounds like the Nazi Socialist Party is back at it again....

    We have already allowed liberals to destroy ethics with thinking its normal for man/man, woman/woman, or whatever else these sick people can dream up.

    WE have already allowed liberals to destroy our education system because certain segments dont' want to put in effort so we have dumbed down our future talent.

    The liberals destroyed our economy by allowing home ownership to people that could not afford housing which artificially stimulated the housing market to the point that it collasped the economy... Dodd, Frank, Obama and other Dems were working on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae here in DC.

    The liberals and obama are trying to convert America into one giant welfare socialist program....

    I Want more Congressmen and Senators to man up and call out these liberal liars... Its time to take a stand and take back America for Americans....

    Wake up American's you voted for change and that changes is going to be the penny's you have left in your pocket...

    September 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  20. Joey

    It only took two words from Rep. Wilson to get Pres. Obama took change his position. Apparently Rep. Wilson must have struck a nerve. If his actions, however disrespectful they might be, ends up causing this bill to be a better bill and not to waste tax payer money on illegals, then I applaud him.

    September 12, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. zago

    The moral of this country has taken a new low

    September 12, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Great Hope

    I hope that he is formally censured or reprimanded on the floor of the House. That will re-establish the limits of decorum. Maybe that would rein in the rest of the insanity. I can hope.

    September 12, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. Big Blue Patriot

    Can CNN verify these fund-raising figures for either side, or is it just going to print whatever the spokespersons for either candidate-to-be assert? At one point yesterday CNN was reporting the "score" was $700,000 – $200,000.

    The demise of journalistic ethics in this country thanks largely to corporate ownership has dire implications for democracy. WIthout at least some verified factual data, how can there be genuine debate? Indeed, how can anyone make an informed decision?

    Real conditions cannot be productively faced with nothing more than delusion borne of personal preference.

    As a result, passions will rule, especially when they're loudly screamed.

    This is the path that will end the American experiment in democracy, and not at all well.

    September 12, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Freeman

    Looks like the racists are coming out in full force.

    September 12, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Liz

    If you are going to donate your money to a Republican, donate to a decent and intelligent one such as Powell, Paul, or McCain. Don't use support an unpatriotic American with your money because you don't like the President. There is a time and a place for protest, and a guest in the congressional hall was not the right place. If the host Wilson did not know this, than he should not be hosting anyone in Congress! Sad.

    September 12, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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