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. Socrates in Leominster

    AMAZING! Even if I would be a republican, a mature one, I would be mad that someone that thinks is intelligent would eb rewarded as he is getting contributions by those that can't be unbiased. What we are telling our children is.. It is fine to be rude and have no class and it is ok not to respect the position of leadership in a supposedly civilized country. This Wilson politician is another narrow minded, opinionated and someone that LIES and think that he is right. I can understand what drives these people to be so mean and hateful.. and self righteous. Wilson is talking about his emotions.. and what did he do when Bush/Ceheny lied sending 4,300 young soldeirs to die in a war based on deception? Did he say anything to Cheney when he had that secret meeting with the oil executives? Did he say anything when Halliburton signed contracts and stole tax payer charging exhorbitant prices for water and gasoline.? Did he yell at Bush when he went to the Olympic games in China meanwhile thousand of wounded soldiers were sick and in the hspital? Did he have the courage to yell at Bush that He is a liar? What a typical conservative hypocrite this Wilson is.. and to be honest.. since I am Liberal.. and that means i am kind and compassionate.. I am sad for this guy.. a poor sample of the so called believer in God. If this guy represent what conservatives are.. I am glad I consider myself LIBERAL and i am proud of it.. rather to be liberal than hypocrite and self righteous.
    So to those that are supporting Wilson.. I guess it is fine wth you to be classless and obnoxious...

    September 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  2. Teresa

    Find your headline misleading. Wilson may have had a surge in donations but so did the opponent.
    Would also be interested in seeing what the donation breakdown is...are there big money donors for either candidate or are they all tens and twenties?
    One thing about it–Joe Wilson is now known to many Americans.

    September 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  3. Ed Stump

    Whatever happened to respect? We may not always like the person in a position of authority, but in our country we are supposed to have respect for the office. This is a sad commentary on where this country is today. What does this behavior teach us? Are we a civilized nation that sets the world standard? The answer is obvious...Not if this is the type of behavior we reward.

    September 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. michael schunke

    the fact that this kind of behavior is actually rewarded by some, is testament to the sad state that our country has fallen to.

    September 12, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Patrick

    It's no wonder CNN is #22 in ratings. Anyone that dissents from the Dear Leader is a racist. Do you think Americans are as ignorant as you? In my experience the people who shout "racism" the loudest are the BIGGEST of bigots.

    September 12, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |

    McCain, Palin, Wilson, Shimkus, Canter, Olympia Snowe, Max Baucus, may "think" that "disrespecting the Pres.
    on National might have "earned" him status, but the Republicans
    are "fooling themselves."

    Wilson may have friends in High Places in South Carolina, i.e,
    THE INSURANCE and DRUG COMPANIES THAT LINE HIS POCKETBOOK, I hear there are lots of them people that "rock the vote in S.C. and other Southern States. The Middle Class people are being taken
    for granted here.

    The Republicans and some Democrats will not vote for Obama's
    Health Care Bill BECAUSE, individually, they will lose MONEY.
    FOLLOW THE MONEY, It is posted on the internet somewhere!

    McCain, Lindsay Graham, Liebermann, Shimkus, Cantor, Wikson!!!!!!!!!! How much do they pay you to "slam' this Bill?????? and the President on National T.V.

    A HEALTH CARE BiILL with Olympia Snowe"s idea of a "trigger" is NO BILL AT ALL! Once in place it can be "triggered" to end, like defeated.
    It would be a Bill that is not worth the paper it is written on.
    And after all the hard work!!!!!!!

    Should the Republicans win in 2010, we, the people, will NEVER
    again have anyone on our side. Like Cheney said on National T.V.
    when Bush was President, "DO NOT RELY ON ENTITILEMENTS!
    Young people should pay attention because their parent could lose
    everything, even if they "think" they are set for life.

    September 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. lizzy09

    Joe Wilson is an embarrassment to the Republican party. No President, be they Republican or Democrat should have to have such disrespect! Shame on those who support such rude behavior by their payments to JW!!

    September 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  8. unshrub

    I guess this sums up what the conservative right is all about, they have no respect for the office of the president, which says how much respect they have for the United States. They believe that it is okay to lie if it can help their cause. When they can't get their way they will rant and holler. But lets not forget, Obama was elected by the majority who want his helath care plan.

    They think mob rule is okay if it supports their cause. "The hell with democracy if they can't get their way," that is their motto.

    September 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Bill In Texas

    Aaron P Why bring up race? It seems that you think that race is the problem. As long as people like you keep bringing it up, it will be. If you can read the minds of republicans, why don't you read some democrats minds? You might find out what is really going on.

    September 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. jnywest

    It is so true. White Supremist don't like the idea of a powerful and sucsessful African American.

    LIsten to me. I was born in Georgia, my fathers side fo the family is from North Carolina, Tenn, and Kentucky. I don't have a lot of black frineds or co-workers, even though I live in Portland, OR.

    Racism is alive and well in White America. I've heard my own relatives, whom are very nice people, use the N-word...Ive heard my, white cop relatives use the N-word, seriously.

    We must stand up against this, we must point it out for what it is. This whole debate has not had anything to do with healthcare..or even capitolism vs socialism. The republicains are racist, are using racism to advance their goals.

    I think its time for proud African Americans and supporters of the proggressive movment in this country everywhere to organized another million man march on D.C.. Lets show everyone what a real "grass roots" movement looks like.

    September 12, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Tony in Maine

    Sad testimony to the state of politics in South Carolina. That a man like Wilson should be rewarded rather than admonished for a childish outburst says much about how far they've come since the 1860's.

    And these are the same folks who have given us DeMint...

    September 12, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Chelle

    Most of us want to beleive the very good in people, but you know Aaron're right!

    September 12, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Dixie

    Only in America, rewarding disrespect of the highest office in the land! So many better ways to spend your money, children without basic needs ,the homeless, the poo, the hungry etc.etc.!!

    September 12, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. ray

    this country is gone, i understand now why the white people in this country would say and do anything and gets away with it. here you have a die hard racists calling the president of the usa a liar and the rest of racists like him are donating money to have, how pathetic these people are. god has to be shaking his head .

    September 12, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Bob

    In the interest of balanced reporting, why does the headline on the main CNN page say Wilson has raised 1 million, when in fact its his opponent that has raised that amount and Wilson has *maybe* raised 700 Thou?

    How about "in wake of outburst, donations to Wilson's re-election campaign are substantially outstripped by donations to his challenger"

    If anything, Wilson's ill timed, unsubstantiated outburst put a very bright light on what passes for substance in the GOP, and sadly, it looks a lot like a vacuum.

    September 12, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. proud democrat

    This has just convinced me to donate $$ to Wilson's opponent.

    September 12, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. pacific view

    In America it pays to be rude!

    September 12, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Justin -NC

    Joe Wilson and his supporters are proxy for racist ideology long since debunked and dying a slow but loud death here in America. For him to shout "lie" at an honest president but sat silently while Bush lied about the Iraq War, lied about WMDs, lied about Saddam and 9/11 link, lied about Tax Cuts for the Wealthiest Americans, lied about so many other domestic initiatives is proof that Republicans have NEVER been for any class other than the RICH. Wilson is being paid by the insurance companies good money and his nest egg is being threatened. That's why he's trying to kill reform at all costs.

    September 12, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. Sandy

    Isn't it ironic that it was Ronald Reagan who signed the bill that allowed illegal immigrants to be treated in emergency rooms but that's lost on Republicans. I still believe that most of these 'protests' stem from racism but the participants know that it's no longer acceptable to say you hate someone based on their race so they create other reasons to 'protest.'

    September 12, 2009 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. marc from mississippi

    Joe Wilson for president. We need a man with guts and integrity like hilm. Where do I send my donation to his campaign?

    September 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  21. Daniel P

    Question: That include all the money that Miller is getting from the health insurance companies?

    September 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Edit

    It is truly beyond me that Wilson has not resigned yet. His actions were extremely disrespectful not only to the president but to the entire country. He should truly be ashamed of himself.

    September 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Andrew

    The only racists here are the people who keep using the race card. Democrats have killed amendments proposed by republicans to prove health care reform wont cover illegals. Wilson is not a racist just because he opposes such a bill. Because some does not agree Obama , he is a racist? You must have an obsolete functioning brain to come to a conclusion of that nature.

    September 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. Dave in Albuquerque

    Oh, good, now the right wing nuts have an official poster child. The rest of us, who believe in civility during addresses of Congress, will simply have to send money to his opponent. I sent my first $25 this morning.

    September 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. lindalou

    I say SHAME ON YOU JOE WILSON....No matter what, respect and dignity should prevail in those chambers....Our government has lost alot of respect and such actions as that should not be tolerated..I am continually nauseated by republicans who are so vile in opposition to our president...we NEED our 2 party (and more!) political system because people will always have opposing views, but I have been absolutely floored at the contempt that has come from republicans during the election process and continuing every day. I have personally lost the friendship of fellow "christians" because of my support of the democratic party and President Obama. The nastiest e-mails I received were from these friends and they were stunned when I called them out on support of such lies. I hope for the best for the leaders of our country and especially our president...but that will not happen without a return to decency.

    September 12, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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