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. HJA

    "Wilson called himself a "gentleman" for immediately contacting the White House to apologize"

    Set the story straight Joe. As reported in all the news organizations, you were told to apologize by your party.....And you are no gentleman.

    September 18, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  2. Patsy Hodges

    I saw a "townhall" moment right here. It was just as disgusting as
    Wilson's.

    September 18, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  3. los

    Wilson I am glad you told the obama that he is a lier I stand with you a 100%.

    September 18, 2009 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. Susan

    This guy is a piece of work. Now he thinks he's a "gentleman" because he called the President and apologized, but not really. He said he was sorry he spoke out (and later recanted) but that he still believed the President is a liar. Some Southern gentleman. Oh, and by the way, when he tells that story about understanding immigrants because he was an immigration attorney, that is a lie.

    September 18, 2009 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  5. economist

    A town hall moment? When did it become acceptable to be an insufferable bore in any public forum?

    September 18, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. Ron

    Joe Wilson is trying to turn this around by becoming the sympathetic character in this drama, saying in effect, "Poor me, everyone is out to get me."
    And now he is the one saying we shouldn't "descend into the level of name calling"? I'm equally disgusted with the Democrats. They would rather spend a lot of time punishing Wilson (and thereby turning him into a hero/victim) than doing the business of health-care reform. The spectacles we witness daily by our politicians are truly discouraging.

    September 18, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. Cindy

    Publicity stunt.

    September 18, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. John

    Joe Wilson can have any opinion he desires yet his congressional outburst was both inappropriate and unproductive. He apologized to the president yet not to his colleagues. Again not recognizing the inappropriateness of not apologizing to his colleagues he was appropriately rebuked.

    Often people look to their leaders for what is appropriate behavior and what he and his son apparently still don't realize is that his "town hall moment" sends the wrong message to the population on how to get things done in the political arena. How do you ever expect there to be productive town hall meetings when the behavior is just shrugged off as a "town hall moment." Yes we all aren't perfect yet we expect a lot more from our leaders.

    Republicans don't need any more black eyes and Joe Wilson's outburst only pushes moderates even further away.

    September 18, 2009 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    Delusions of grandeur much? We'll fry, Small Fish, but there are bigger fish to fry.

    September 18, 2009 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. Joe Rone

    I think yelling out you lie to the President in congress on t.v. is racism or like of respect. A lot of people diden' t like President Bush but people respected him for what he stood for. The President OF The United States OF America. It's a time and place for everything and that was not place for that.

    September 18, 2009 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  11. unclekrinkly

    Joe,

    Calling the White House to apologize afterwards doesn't make you a gentleman, Again, you represent what's wrong with this country.

    September 18, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  12. imjustnoisy

    Joe Wilson,You Lie

    September 18, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  13. Joyce in South Carolina

    A true Southern Gentleman would not have been rude in the first place. Wilson did not have the guts to apologize to Congress.

    I wish I lived in his district, I would do everything in my power to see that he is not re-elected.

    He is a disgrace to South Carolina

    September 18, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Cynthia

    What else can the President say to this a– hole without the pundits turning it against against him. This was clearly racism and I think joe wilson is the biggest racist in the country Saturday Night Live had it right with the James Carville skit.

    September 18, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  15. We Won Get Over It

    Poor me...poor me....send me another 1,000 donation will you make me stop sobbing cause the democrats are picking on me.

    September 18, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. Don Aka

    Joe Wilson has already resorted to name-calling, incorrectly calling President Obama a "liar". Most of the public have discovered who the mudslingers are and demonstrated such in the 2008 elections!

    Republicans the party of "NO" and instigators of hate politics!

    September 18, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. RONNIE

    Joe Wilson should be recalled and put in prison just for being a republican! All republicans should be sent to China where they would be free to be a Nazi.

    September 18, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. Carmen

    Truthfully, it was a giant story for a week, couple of weeks. It's over now and he's just trying to keep his 15 minutes going. Everyone else is over him and his tantrum.

    September 18, 2009 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  19. Jake

    "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"

    Like calling people liars on the House floor? Pot, meet Kettle.

    September 18, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Gerald West

    Hatred, not a difference of opinion of Obama, motivated Wilson's outburst. What seems underreported in the media is that the President was totally correct in stating that persons not legally resident in the US would not be covered by health care proposals. This is plainly and simply stated in the house bill concerning health care.

    So, why does Wilson hate the well-meaning, highly educated, popularly-elected President of the US? Must be that his skin color is so dark you'd think he wasn't half-white.

    September 18, 2009 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Kay from PA

    How funny is that? Joe Wilson saying we shouldn't call each other names.

    September 18, 2009 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. Never Repub again

    Obama-Biden 2012.

    I am tired of the obstruction to American progress. Repubs dont love America, Only Money.

    September 18, 2009 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. Joe is Great !

    Hang in there Joe !

    September 18, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  24. Michael

    Move past Joe Wilson and bring a true health care reform bill to the house floor for a vote.

    September 18, 2009 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  25. larry

    yes ,yes,yes Joe we shouldn't be name calling or calling out when its an inappropriate time! Really! He says he is a gentleman? None of what Ive seen is gentlemanly behavior coming from this Joe.He seems rather affronted that anyone should think he did anything wrong>In fact he thinks we should all shut up and get back to the real business at hand!
    The gall of the fellow!

    September 18, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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