January 5th, 2014
10:21 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney accepts MSNBC host's apology

Washington (CNN) - Mitt Romney took a conciliatory tone Sunday when asked about an MSNBC panel mocking a family holiday card that showed him holding his adopted black grandchild, saying it is time to move on.

"People make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake and they apologized for it," Romney said Sunday in an interview on Fox News Sunday. "They apologized for it. That's all we can ask for."

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A day earlier, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry made a tearful apology to the former Republican presidential candidate and his family after she and a panel poked fun at a photo of Romney with his wife and 21 grandchildren by zeroing in on his adopted African-American grandson. "Whatever the intent was, the reality is that the segment proceeded in a way that was offensive, and showing the photo in that context, of that segment, was poor judgment. So without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family," said the anchor at the open of her show, "Melissa Harris-Perry."

Harris-Perry became emotional as she went on to apologize to all "other families formed through transracial adoption," saying, "I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule."

She highlighted her own interracial background, as the daughter of an African-American man and a white Mormon woman. But, she said, families are always "off limits," and the Romneys' grandchildren should never have been a topic of discussion.

"Adults who enter into public life implicitly consent to having less privacy. But their families, and especially their children, should not be treated callously or thoughtlessly. My intention was not malicious, but I broke the ground rule that families are off limits, and for that I am sorry," she said.

Harris-Perry first apologized on Twitter and MSNBC's website Tuesday, offering a similar mea culpa "without reservation or qualification."

Last week, Harris-Perry and panelists on her show made jokes at the expense of the Romney family. Perry asked her guests to come up with a caption for the Romney family photo, prompting actress Pia Glenn to sing "one of these things is not like the others" and comedian Dean Obeidallah to remark the picture "sums up the diversity of the Republican Party."

Obeidallah appears frequently on CNN and writes a regular opinion column for CNN.com.

Harris-Perry, for her part, described the baby as "gorgeous" and joked that in 2014 he would marry North West, the daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

"Can you imagine Mitt Romney and Kanye West as in-laws," she said.

Romney, the Republican Party's nominee for president in 2012, said his stature makes him a frequent target of attacks, but added that the barbs directed at his family crossed the line.

"People like me are fair targets. If you get in the political game, you can expect incoming," Romney said. "For children, that's beyond the line. I think they understand that and feel that, as well.

"I think it's a heartfelt apology, and I think for that reason we hold no ill will whatsoever," he said.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (618 Responses)
  1. Roybig

    Great! Now is Mitt going to apologize for all the lies he told during his "presidential campaign"? Unbelievable.

    January 6, 2014 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  2. Anonymous

    This is just a dog and pony show.......Romney did not make a big deal of it, but he told Fox news.

    January 6, 2014 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
  3. CommonSense

    Sounds like a simple solution. Simply cut 26B in wasteful spending somewhere else in the bloated government to fund more unemployment. But simplicity won't work in Washington nor common sense. There should also be a one year max on the benefit. If in a year you have not found a job it moved to a part of the country where there are jobs the compassion and benefit ends

    January 6, 2014 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  4. sifto

    there is a world of difference when someone insults and smears an innocent baby..you libs comparing this with Duck D are fooling yourselves...

    January 6, 2014 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  5. Are you kidding me?

    Here we go with the thin skinned GOP. What a fiasco of free publicity. The segment was a humorous take of their thoughts. The mother should be applauded for adopting the child but if there is a lesson Romney should have called out the toxic elements in his own party, his race, and his church for the not so friendly treatment of people be they are black, Hispanic, gay, anything else. I would classify the GOP as bullies for THEIR behavior since 2008 – no apology necessary.

    January 6, 2014 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  6. sifto

    forget about Harris-Perry–msnbc told her to do her dirty work..why fire their spokesperson?

    January 6, 2014 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  7. Are you kidding me?

    The GOP and right wing can be classified as bullies and they should not be crying over a joke. This is blown way out of proportion.

    Of course the nay sayers on this board who claim they will never watch MSNBC again never had anyway so stop lying.

    I would have show clips of the last 6 years of toxic rhetoric perpetrated by the GOP and question why they are outraged. The scales would never balance until the right wing changes their own behavior and apologies to US!

    January 6, 2014 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  8. bRob

    I guess being on PMSNBC, with no ratings, she said what she said just to get in the spot light. Had she not said it, folks like me never would have known who she was. Just another talking empty head like Maddow and Obermann.

    January 6, 2014 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  9. jimbob

    some people just wrong

    January 6, 2014 08:06 am at 8:06 am |
  10. Are you kidding me?

    Do not kid yourselves. The GOP are bullies and not the victim. The joke may not have been appropriate in some eyes but there is no need to cry over a joke. The attention should be focused on the bullies and toxic people we elected into office and act unprofessionally. Where are their apologies - hint hint Pauls, Palin, and Cruz???

    January 6, 2014 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  11. Stephen

    The same liberal double standard. I wonder what would've happened if Paula Dean said something like this??? Oh wait....yeah, we already know. No matter what they say, a black person's words will never be considered "racial", by their own standards.

    January 6, 2014 08:16 am at 8:16 am |
  12. bigdaddy

    first..... Mellissa perry really needs to never poke fun at anyone.....my advice is to take a look in the mirror ..are those Corn rows???? . that being said...I cant help imagining the conversation in the Romney camp after he lost the election.. ..at some point the plan was hashed to adopt a minority to try to bridge the gap between him and the minority vote. all he needs to do is buy...ERRRRRRRRR I mean adopt a Gay person and a kid with down syndrome and I think he will be set. THEN he will get Elected president...then he will Claim Earth in the name of planet KOLOB.

    January 6, 2014 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  13. pjoe

    Never heard of what's her name. Is MSNBC still on television?

    January 6, 2014 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. c

    the family adopting a black child in the first place is questionable and Melissa Harris Perry and the crew poking fun at this family is crazy sense Harris Perry has a speech impediment and is also multiracial she would have a fit if someone poked fun at her speech impediment and her race

    January 6, 2014 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  15. NickiRosa

    She should be happy for that baby boy he is growing up in a family of privelege, maybe disconnected from his racial identity but he will be surrounded by love 🙂 And she's biracial herself so why should she make fun of the baby???

    January 6, 2014 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Some folks just need to tone down the criticism of MHP. She apologized in a most professional manner, and Mitt Romney accepted her apology in a most professional manner. Mitt Romney has put it behind him, and I suggest those of you do likewise. To keep nagging on an on about it, just makes you look vindictive and spiteful. Romney said put it to rest.

    January 6, 2014 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    How long will this story be "milked"?
    The teat must be dry by now.
    I was going on Christmas vacation when this story broke for cripes sakes!

    January 6, 2014 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  18. ginger315

    This woman should be fired. She is trying to downplay the race card. She attacked the Romney family for adopting a black baby......just another "tolerant" liberal. Where are the white Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's????????

    January 6, 2014 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
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