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. Belfunk2001

    So when can we expect those heartfelt apologies for insults leveled at the Presidents family and children by various so called news anchors at faux news and by rush "drug addict" limbaugh. Hypocrites. She should not have apologized. Every black person in America must know this kid is going to need decades of therapy when he is older having grown up in one of the most singularly unqualified to raise a kid of color in a racist nation households.

    January 5, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Paul

    this just goes to show that there are no ends liberals will go to in order to trash anyone not in line with their party. Im sure this is the status quo from the left.

    January 5, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. fthomascain

    Unlike all the racists at MSNBC, Romney is a case act and we surely would have been better off with him as president than this divisive. incompetent and ineffective scam artist we have.

    January 5, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. Linda MCFRD

    Is this where our little children learn how to bully? Sounds to me that is what this is what this is. Sham on you, and I am surprised that you still have a job.

    January 5, 2014 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  5. woodlander2

    I would like to hear an apology from MSNBC management. It took a huge negative reaction for Harris-Perry to finally offer a sincere apology. The root problem is the policies of MSNBC that not only condone the hate and partisan character assassination, they encourage it by their hiring and programming decisions. Where is their apology?

    January 5, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. rad man

    So when is Romeny going to apologize for calling people lazy and stupid with his 47 % comment.

    January 5, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. teacherinvt

    Since when is saying your sorry for a crass, thoughtless, supposed joke about a baby enough. Shouldn't her credentials as a journalist be questioned? Maybe we are just to accept that this is the lack of quality on MSNBC. Too bad. I won't seek it out as any kind of informative broadcast.

    January 5, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. smgordon

    only because he is running for office again

    January 5, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. Dan

    That "apology" was nothing but BS, including the crocodile tears shed for camouflage. You'd think that "liberals" would be OK with interracial adoption, but that's only if it's some nancy boy actor or Jolie or Madonna. When some conservative couple adopts they are made objects of ridicule. There aren't enough parents to go around so when anyone of good character adopts an child, be it white or black, that action should be praised not debased. That so called liberal commentator. and her hand picked posse are a bunch of raciest, biased, worthless, good for nothing, wasted pieces of skin and should not be on national TV. There is a special place in hell for these people. This is why I don't watch that worthless network. How dare those elitist racists be allowed to spew their impure thoughts on the air. Who is management and what are they doing about this constant flood of racial hatred coming from their commentators. I'm not a Romney fan, but I appreciate him giving this child a place to live and be loved.

    January 5, 2014 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. LR

    Romney's will do anything for attention. Don't post pics like this if you don't want reactions. Go away already!

    January 5, 2014 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. time

    Romney is not a stand up guy like many say on this post. People like Romney are part of the problem with America today and why your house is under water and your wages are going down. No, he's not the sole individual possible but his agenda and ultimate greed helped push the USA where it is today

    Please just go away.

    January 5, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. TNWhiskey

    For those trying to call the right "hypocrites" over free speech, stop talking. The MSNBC host and Phil were both afforded the same free speech rights, because free speech wasn't an issue. Free speech does NOT guarantee freedom from consternation. She crossed the line, and so did he. Get over yourselves. I'm middle-ground, but both sides are full of hypocrites, no one worse than the other.

    January 5, 2014 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Postmaster

    Sending out a Christmas photo is intended to make him look good for next election? What a crock. She did the right by apologizing and Romney did the right thing by accepting it. Now leave the babies alone you bunch of bullies.

    January 5, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. DB Cooper

    Yeah, Mitt is so consumed with his concern for children that he almost had the courage to call for gun control after the Newtown shooting massacre. Then again, he likely never even came close to having the courage.

    January 5, 2014 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. BoDid

    Instances like this reveal who the real haters and racists are in this country.

    January 5, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  16. tm1946

    msnbc planned this from the beginning. No tv performance is not approved by many staffers at many levels. No one watches this station so a little press will help, even bad press.

    January 5, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. Don

    WOW, liberal hate finally apologized

    January 5, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. BoDid

    Instances like this reveal who the real h8@ters and r.@clsts are in this country.

    January 5, 2014 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  19. The Observer

    Mitt Romney took the higher road, but I doubt Democrats/Liberals such as the MSNBC host would be as accepting or forgiving in accepting an apology from a Conservative/Republic due to the rampant hypocrisy exhibited on both sides.

    January 5, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Vincent

    Romney is obviously running for office again. How transparent. Harris-Perry's original comment is hysterical.

    January 5, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Republiker

    Governor Romney could teach the Democrat Freeloader Party members some class if they were willing.

    January 5, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. OrmondGeorge

    TheThinker wrote:

    "I didn't vote for Romney, but his apology acceptance shows him to be a class act.

    BTW, anyone who thinks he wasn't owed an apology was either raised very poorly, is on medication, or is as close-minded as a goose-stepping Nazi."

    I'm a bleeding heart Liberal/Communist/Socialist/YOU KNOW and I couldn't agree more.
    Didn't cost him a THING and raised his positives in my house quite a bit.

    January 5, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  23. penny

    Romney should not have gotten an it was the innocent child that she was being a bully to .they were just school yard bullies . no doubt that's where children learn it from ....their parents and tv

    January 5, 2014 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. mikal

    Ms. Harris-Perry, madame have you no decency left?

    January 5, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. db

    Hey, weirdo Romney-lovers... grow spines.

    January 5, 2014 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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