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. Alan

    To those who make attacks on CNN, FoxNews, MSNBC. CBS, ABC, NBC, etc please post an actual comment and host name to have credibility. Otherwise it is simply a political ideology disagreement rather than a true insult.

    January 5, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Nexus 974

    Criticize Romney all you want. He's a big boy. He can handle it. Just leave innocent kids out of it.

    January 5, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  3. Not Today

    Since when does someone adopt a grandchild? It's not even his child!

    January 5, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  4. Scott

    People who make fun of infants are into themselves certainly not infants. Picking on a little African American adopted baby is sick. Why watch a show like this, what's it for?

    January 5, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  5. ho ho ho

    I have seen the video. Instead of controlling the situation, Melissa Harris-Perry chose to join in with the jokes. Anyone who has risen to that level of broadcasting should know better. True, no one is perfect but this is Broadcasting 101.

    January 5, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. caesaro

    Did Romney ever apologize for the 47% statements implying 100 million Americans including seniors and veterans are lazy?

    January 5, 2014 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. Sobawawa

    Academy award for that apology. It stirred feelings inside me like a cat staring at a fly on the window for 2 hours. Nothing. Phony apology, please bring out the hankies....talk about OVERDOING the dramatics!!. Since when do feminists ever apologize?. Let's get real.

    January 5, 2014 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  8. Graybear

    Here's what I'd like to see – Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin (and the like) all issue official and heartfelt apologies for the lies, vitriol, and hate spewed over the last few years directed towards Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton, and other moderate policy makers. THEN I'll feel for Romney's family and acknowledge Melissa's somewhat poor judgement....

    January 5, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  9. beachgalone

    I think we've come to the point where robots deliver any news or entertainment. There is no way to speak without offending someone.

    January 5, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  10. George

    I did vote for Romnyy and again I was proven right

    January 5, 2014 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Nexus 974

    Ironman59 and Exactly are both wrong. You don't like Romney, fine. You want to criticize Romney, fine. His grandson however is off limits! When you cross that line you should apologize. Unless of course you are without any sense of decency.

    January 5, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  12. ANNIER

    As a high-ranking member of a racist cult, it's a true sign of desperation in an (4th- 5th??) attempt to buy his way into the WH. To use a little child to do so is downright despicable.

    January 5, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. greetingsfromyonkers

    Melissa Hart-Perry is like Marxist society: no class.

    She should be fired for her juvenile, tasteless, mean-spirited comments about a defenseless little baby.

    January 5, 2014 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  14. Manny

    Hopefully she shows us the kid(s) she has adopted to help the situation.....

    January 5, 2014 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. northerstar

    It is amazing the Romney bashing despite his returning to private life. He was not in the news; but some lame-brained "anchor" (whatever MSNBC uses that term for someone sitting on a chair in front of a camera) decided to spout-off about the makeup of his extended family and THE MEDIA called her out on it.
    Now someone asking where is Romney's apology is for his business career ? The companies he bought were already in the dumpster and would have closed whether or not his company stepped in.
    It is NO WONDER NO ONE with any real potential wants to run for President. Only politicians want the job anymore; they already gave up their souls.

    January 5, 2014 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. One who listens carefully

    Reason she was tearful is 1- her job is on the line 2- to make herself look more creditable .. she is a fake and is not the first time she has crossed the "integrity line" that she supposedly holds so dear. If she really held that line so dear as she claimed she would have never crossed it in the first place. I feel she should be fired and start back at the bottom of the dog pile to remind her what integrity is really all about!

    January 5, 2014 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  17. Mike Buck

    The incident is now over. Now I can go back to not watching Duck Dynasty.

    January 5, 2014 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Bikeman

    Gracious. Should have been our president, most Americans now agree.

    January 5, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. Freddo

    So ... where are the outraged liberals, seething at anger over the insensitive remarks of a commentator?

    They'd be demanding "Heads On Sticks" if it were a conservative speaker ... they should demand no less from their own.

    But then, when are the Democrats OR Republicans consisted in their outrage ... never.

    January 5, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. Mike Black

    I don't like Romney as a politician, but here is the thing. Romney is trying to make a difference in someones life. He is trying to become a better man.I would suggest we get off his back and off line and get busy trying to make a difference in someone else other than ourselves. Wouldn't the world be a better place? I hope he (Romney) will continue in his effort to love all irrespective of color or race.

    January 5, 2014 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Mike

    Fox News would have never apologized for offending someones family they do it every day

    January 5, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. karek40

    Mr. Romney is much more gracious than I would be, she should be fired.

    January 5, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. BO

    Hate and bigotry from the left. No surprise there.

    January 5, 2014 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. azpete

    Both Harris-Perry and Romney handled the apology well. Romney accepted that people can make mistakes and show poor judgement. He didn't try to make a big issue out of it. Harris-Perry made a sincere, unqualified apology. This is actually quite rare in the political arena. Most often, an apology is half-hearted as in 'If anyone was offended ...', or such like. This puts the onus on those who were offended rather than the person offending.

    January 5, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. lorri

    It was his son Ben who did the adopting .

    January 5, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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