September 18th, 2009
06:43 PM ET
12 years ago

Wilson says he's the 'number one target' of attack

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Embattled Rep. Joe Wilson said Friday his congressional outburst was his "town hall moment."

"I have to give credit to my son Alan," who is running for South Carolina attorney general. "He said, 'Dad I know you, I know what happened. You were there on the House floor and you had a town hall moment.' And that was it," said the Republican congressman.

Speaking in his hometown of Columbia, South Carolina for the first time since shouting "you lie" at President Obama, Wilson said that moment has made him the prime target of attack.

"It was speaking at the wrong place, wrong time," Wilson said. "And now, I am the number one target of Washington Democrats, the number one target of MoveOn, the number one target of ACORN."

Wilson called himself a "gentleman" for immediately contacting the White House to apologize, and commended the president for disagreeing with the sentiment that his outburst spurred from racism.

"I appreciate very much President Barack Obama has indicated this is not correct," Wilson said of the claims that he is racist. "...A number of people have all indicated that this truly we need to be discussing the issues and not (descend) into the level of name calling," he added.

South Carolinians on hand for Wilson's homecoming told CNN congressional correspondent Brianna Keilar Friday they "weren't impressed with (Wilson's) outburst" - but that they agree with his sentiment.

"Let's close the book on last week," said Wilson. "Let's look ahead to work together for real health insurance reform."

The House voted Tuesday to formally admonish Wilson for yelling out in Congress.


Filed under: Joe Wilson
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Mike F

    Joe, "you lie!" You're not a "gentleman!" No gentleman does public disrespect to the President as you did. The President of the United St ates is not only the "head of government," but he (or she someday!) is also "Head of State." To disrespect the President is to show disresect to the State, our United States of America!

    September 18, 2009 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. S M R

    You and everyone like you are a target. The GOP stands for DE-REGULATION, TRICKLE-DOWN ECONOMICS and the RICH getting Richer at the Huge cost of the American Taxpayer. REMEMBER: When you point you finger at others, (in your case) there are millions pointing back at you.

    September 18, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. NC

    The SC Tourism council asked Wilson to say this. They are losing tourism dollars because people are refusing to spend money in SC. My Church has cancelled a retreat we had planned for SC. He should have apologized and let it go but he turned it into a fundraiser for himself. Maybe he will donate the money to people that will lose their jobs that work in the tourism industry. Unemployment is 11% statewide in SC, somes areas are in the high teens and have 20+% unemployment. Now he is whining about being the number one target for attacks. He is wrong President Obama has been attacked by racists like him since or before the day he was sworn in.

    September 18, 2009 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  4. Mark

    Too bad Joe Wilson and the Republicans can't show near the class of President Obama.

    September 18, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  5. Mike F

    Joe, you're not a "gentleman!" No gentleman does public disrespect to the President as you did. The President of the United St ates is not only the "head of government," but he (or she someday!) is also "Head of State." To disrespect the President is to show disrespect to the State, our United States of Americ

    September 18, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  6. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    This turkey's lack of respect for CONGRESS alone is enough to make him the "Boob of the Year," in my opinion.

    He shames his great State of South Carolina which is where my ancestors preached the Gospel (in Charleston) for over one hundred years.

    This guy is so distracted by his own fame and "cleverness" that he is no longer serving his constituents.

    September 18, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  7. carlos, that one

    please go back to your pig sty and stay there...........the Capitol is not your place

    September 18, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. Wes Gibbs

    This Joe Wilson is as fake as a 3 dollar bill. SC and the deep South is still racist. I spoke with several people in his district before Obama was elected and some of the radicals were telling the people in that district that is the Democrats won and put Obama in that they would kill Obama rather than have him as president. This was before the Presidential election. I live in South Carolina, I know the mood and the mode of it's politicians. I hope Joe Wilson receives a lesson in civility by being voted out of office next year for disgracing himself and others in front of the world by heckling the President. I sometimes have disagreed with other Presidents over some issues but I would never, ever act as this so called educated man did. I think he did it on purpose to detract from the HealthCare debate and obstruct true discussion.

    September 18, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  9. Candy

    He wishes....he's not that important. What an idiot.

    September 18, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. MCD, SF, CA

    He is just lucky that he is dealing with President Obama and not somebody like a Cheney or a George W. Bush. Look what they did to Valerie Plame. Even Joe Wilson MUST see the difference in attitude and intelligence. If they won't give the President civility then he will just have to show them what it looks like.

    September 18, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  11. Mike F

    Congressman Wilson: No gentleman shows public disrespect to the President as you did. The President of the United St ates is not only the "head of government," but he (or she someday!) is also "Head of State." To disrespect the President is to show disrespect to the State, our United States of America.

    September 18, 2009 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. Mike F

    No gentleman shows public disrespect to the President as Rep. Wilson did. The President of the United St ates is not only the "head of government," but he (or she someday!) is also "Head of State." To disrespect the President is to show disrespect to the State, our United States of America.

    September 18, 2009 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Luke Brown

    Wilson must be taking his PR cues from Sanford. He makes it sound like the White House was in favor of coverage for illegal immigrants and in a moment of "bipartisanship" backed down.

    What a self-righteous jerk. He is still trying to spin this thing for some political one-upmanship.

    Joe, Obama wasn't offended by his outburst. You embarrassed the House of Representatives by calling the President of the United States a liar when he was addressing the nation ... and then refused to apologize like the kind of gentleman you claim to be would have.

    BTW ... did you ever apologize to Essie Mae Thurmond for calling her claim that Strom was her father a "smear campaign"?

    I look forward to voting against you and your son next November.

    September 18, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. John

    I feel it is unfair to label Congressman Wilson as a racist without firm evidence. According to his son, now running for national office, although his father is from the South he has never in his life even laughed at a joke about African Americans. However, there can be no question that Mr. Wilson is unqualified to serve in the House of Representatives - he has no sense of decency or respect for the country he claims to love. He just threw Southern honor to the pigs.

    September 18, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. DonnaLee

    No one painted that target on his back except himself. What a waste of time, energy, and lead!

    September 18, 2009 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  16. SC Girlie

    Hey Joe: Your Confederate colors are showing... I don't buy what Joe is saying today! Why didn't Joe Wilson say what he said today in Columbia on the floor of the U. S. House? Why? It would have been so simple. End of story!

    September 18, 2009 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  17. proud dem in nc

    Hypocrite and bigot!!

    September 18, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Luke Brown

    That was a cheezy reference to ACORN as well.

    Joe, do you have evidence that ACORN has "targeted" you or was that just another of your low-brow contributions to a civil dialogue?

    September 18, 2009 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  19. Kathleen Mary

    Dear Congressman Wilson, the last time I acted like a jerk it didn't just "go away"...I couldn't just "move on". No one let me "close the book on it". I just had to say over and over again, yeah I was a jerk...I'm sorry.
    How nice for him that the country "needs to work together now" instead of still having our mouths hang open in astonishment when he called a President a liar during a joint session on National TV.

    Since he is ok with hecklers, even in the halls of congress...as long as they are patriotically passionate... I hope he gets a ton of them in the next year. Cause we're Americans and we don't have to control our emotions! We're free! We're jerks, but by God we are free to be so.
    Grow up Congressman,
    Kathleen M

    September 18, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. harold

    Joey...do you care about the fact this country has about 50 million people in the USA who have NO health insurance and you have your government health insurance for your care?.How about it Joey next time in the House.. let some tears flow for all those poor souls who have NO health care in the USA....

    September 18, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  21. Amanda

    Oh poor baby Wilson ! The brat is having a temper and claims he is the victim. Go wrap yourself in the Confederate flag Wilson and keep your racist rants to yourself.

    September 18, 2009 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. turned off by them

    Mr. Wilson you are no target. You were just plain rude. Obama was elected by a landslide victory and even if you disagree with that you should respect him enough not to interrupt a forum so significant.

    September 18, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  23. Lisa P

    If Joe Wilson were a gentleman he would have apologized on the floor of the House for his outburst. Instead he used it to sollicit campaign funds from the bigots and the crazies. He has no honor. He is not a gentleman, and we all have a right to say so - more right than he had to disrupt the President's speech to Congress and the American people, as it happens. Where is his apology to us? All he does is repeat his lies. He's not interested in "real health care reform"; he's just interested in seeing our President and our country fail. Whether because of racism or not I leave for him to ask his own heart, but he has a history of supporting racists and racist symbols. Lie down with dogs and you're bound to get fleas.

    September 18, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  24. Human Rights Arabian Group

    Soon , the world will know the truth of Sultanate Oman how they have Human Discrimination , and how they make illegal Issues and false cases against foreigners ....

    By The Name Of God the Sultanate Of Oman Will Pay what they take from foreigners right, Money and they steal them...

    and we will soon send a case for Jordanian Guy was working in Oman and what they did for him to make him escape a way from Oman from the Omani Government pressure cause he was asking for his right which is stolen from Omani People....

    September 18, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. I am Newt's ex wife

    That's right Joe go to your base...family...do you really have any idea of what ids going on outside South Carolina??

    This is all about raising money ....AND.......... whe is his next Fox news spot.

    What a hick!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 18, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
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