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. daniel l

    To anonymous: Mitt didn't adopt a grandchild. His son and daughter adopted a daughter. And just like any proud grandpa, Romney posed with his family's newest miracle on his lap for a family picture.

    Harris-Perry did apologize, but what is going on with the producers at MSNBC? How many segments that result in lost or apologizing hosts can the network approve? How many graphics can be cued up w/o one cautionary voice? One can only wonder what vile does get edited for discretionary sake.

    January 5, 2014 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Steve Steenstra

    Romney reminds me of the kid who just won the game with a great shot and dismisses the envious kid who yells that it was a lucky shot. Romney hit a three pointer with his interview with Chris Wallace. Melissa could learn a lot from him.

    January 5, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  3. midas360

    "I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule."

    That's exactly what they did. MSNBC is going down a very dark road and they need to stop and reevaluate their purpose. That's 3 people now within a 10 month period spewing hate and making fun of people.

    January 5, 2014 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Phil

    Alright, all you MSNBC lovers and defenders need to stop throwing around the whole free speech thing. Freedom of speech doesn't make you free from the consequences of said speech. It basically just means that you can't be thrown in jail for speaking your mind. Within reason, of course. Calling in a fake bomb threat or yelling "Fire!" in a crowded movie theater isn't protected under the First Amendment. Anyway, my point is that words sometimes carry consequences, and the Constitution doesn't protect you from those consequences. MHP and her panel said some stupid and ignorant things and they're now dealing with the consequences. I agree it needs to be put to rest now and everyone needs to move on, but stop crying "Freedom of speech!" when this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It's all about consequences of action.

    January 5, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. midas360

    Shame on you Melissa and MSNBC for allowing this.

    January 5, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  6. Marc

    Neither of these elitists, political and media, deserves a break. They're both about as bad as the Kardashians. Shallow. Obsessed with themselves and their respective "positions" in society. Absolutely no connection to the real world.

    January 5, 2014 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. Guest Speaker

    The ever so tolerant Romney detractors seem myopically focused on the apology. The matter on which you should focus is the diatribe which resulted in the 'media firestorm.' Ms. Perry displayed near palpable contempt and gross unprofessionalism, and for that she should owe anyone an apology regardless of the party affiliation of the person whom she ridiculed. The Fox programs of the world are not impelled to offer apologies, because in so far as you might disagree with the content, vile rhetoric of this magnitude is only demonstrated on one network – MSNBC.

    January 5, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Jack

    Oh please! Mitt Romney has no scruples, no moral compass. The man couldn't release his tax returns for obvious reasons, and now he's being investigated for fraud and racketeering. Ohm yeah, he's a real beacon of honesty and morality. What a two-faced loser.

    January 5, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Helen Troy

    Her intention was indeed malicious.. it was meant to hurt.... she has self esteem issues...is that why she is on at the site and has no viewers...

    January 5, 2014 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. king

    if i was a birther i would say its a conspiracy to put the black grand child into office from birth. you know, the same thing they did to Obama when he was born, by shuffling him back from Africa, to crown him president 40 years later. the thing some right wingers will believe is astounding. they should put folks like glen beck on a deserted island. and put all his conspiracy theories in a locked jar right beside him.

    January 5, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. jamesherald

    why did she feel the need to say that at all... which one of gibbs rules did she break..

    January 5, 2014 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. SNARK

    The apology was appropriate. Now, when is Fox News or Clear Channel or Cumulus going to render similar ‘heart-felt’ apologies for all the hatred and lies they’ve spewed against the Clinton family and children and the Obama family and children? Not likely. The ‘Right’ holds it as their job to destroy, fold, spindle and mutilate. No apologies for their hatred and lies will ever be forthcoming. The ‘Right’ is the ‘Wrong’ in this world. The ‘Right’ should be re-spelled: The ‘Reich’.

    January 5, 2014 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. jhunjr

    These panel should take "MORAL" (if they have) responsibility and get out of the air at least for a day.....it's a shame that there's so many people condoned this inhumane mockery of people who truly care for the parent-less, yes! too many of them here in America..

    I totally agree with the comment from TheThinker!

    January 5, 2014 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. Bemused

    The apology was appropriate and accepted as it should have been. What amzes me are the idiotic comments by numerous people on this page trying to tear down others. Grow up!

    January 5, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Just Sayin'

    The libs tried to get some dirt on Romney during the 2012 elections, going as far as enlisting Gloria Allred to do the 'dirty work' all to no avail. They denigrate him for his wealth, while worshipping the lib 1%ers like Oprah. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

    Romney is a decent human being and a class act. Libs could learn a great deal from his example.

    January 5, 2014 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. MitMoJo

    C'mmon. Now the Libs have to apologize for their "jokes", Right?

    How many times have we seen the like of Coulter, Beck, O'Reilly spewing their nonsense and deem them "jokes"? Do they apologize? NO they don't.

    Mit, you said it yourself, "Fair Target". Just like Obama was/is "Fair Target" for the wack jobs.

    January 5, 2014 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Brian from DC

    I'd certainly hate to have that kid's therapy bills when he grows up.

    January 5, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. hotstuffpdx

    Where is the apology from Romney';s supporters when they attacked the Obama girls?

    January 5, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Mormonisnormal

    It's just a political statement.

    January 5, 2014 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. BeRational

    Both the right and the left are so conditioned to hate each other and try to poke fun at them that they don't even realize what they're doing and saying quite often. This seems to be the case here. They only know hatred in the moment. Sad.

    January 5, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. Eric Bonner

    She said she was sorry. How many times have we all said something foolish that we wish we could take back. Heck, I do it almost on a weekly basis. Ha. Forgiveness is a sweet thing. I thank God every day for forgiving and redeeming me.

    January 5, 2014 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. XXXXXX

    I feel sorry for this woman. She fell in the trap without knowing. It was the purpose of the picture. Not a single boy of the 5 boys were on the picture. Not even their wives. Why did Romney hold that black child and not other kids? If it was about the picture of his grandkids, why should he also be there? Who doesn't know Romney?

    January 5, 2014 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Truck

    The liberals invented & own the race card.....

    January 5, 2014 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  24. Liz

    She really didn't owe him an apology. Her GUEST made the comments out of the blue.

    January 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  25. KW

    If MSNBC was smart, they'd use this opportunity to dump her. I'm a liberal, but I can't stand this chick. She's too narrow minded for my taste.

    January 5, 2014 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
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