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. martinbay10

    "Quite frankly he wasn't owed an apology. Where is his apology to all the people he put on the unemployment line? Where is his apology for trashing ACA while having his own state level ACA & praising Israel for their national healthcare? Simple fact is that the few if any convictions he may have had he sold his soul to the far right of the gop to get nominated. He deserves no apology. As the gop is found of saying to the rest of the country with people like duck boy "free speech".

    January 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. bobby frank

    I think this was a deserving apology because it is hurtful to children. On the other hand do you really think that the comments made by Duck Dynasty Dad and others was not at all hurtful to children who were born that way? Do you also think it was not such a big deal that children of gay parents have to listen to these so called religious yahoos call their parents everything in the book? Suicide is a big factor here when it comes to what is being said without thinking about who you are hurting. Think before you speak!

    January 5, 2014 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  3. OhCmonNow

    I really don't understand what was so offense about that remark? Kanye and Mitt as in-laws; sounds like a curious imagination of life between two diametrically opposing political view points.

    January 5, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. buck cameron

    Attacking a candidates personally is only poor taste and failed logic. Attacking his family is shameful and totally unacceptaile. I'm glad he isn't president but I salute him for his pride in and caring for his family.

    January 5, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  5. Fivetools22

    She should be fired. Period.

    January 5, 2014 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  6. Stephanie

    I find it 'almost' funny that Ms. Harris-Perry IS/WAS this small child that she & her panel made fun of... and then states that 'families are off limits'... If you dont have empathy for yourself (as this child), how can anyone else? I am a liberal and I found the jokes & comments against this beautiful baby horrific but to pile on with the fact that she had a similar background as this child and STILL made the comments is disgusting... Where was her 'families are off limits' stance then?? I am not a Romney follower and would never vote for him, but the ridicule that was hurled at his infant grandchild is disgusting.

    January 5, 2014 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Let's Be clear

    And Rush Limbaugh never apologized for calling Chelsea Clinton "the Whitehouse dog." Doncha hate a double standard?

    January 5, 2014 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. dina

    Did Romney ever apologize for dismissing 47% of the people? Did he apologize for putting his money out of this country to avoid taxes? Did he apologize for his plan to have people "self deport?" He certainly wasn't owed an apology.It was a joke and he can't take a joke.

    January 5, 2014 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. tonyb

    ah the outraged right- those paragons of family values and racial sensitivity….giants like Hannity, Limbaugh, Palin, Steve King,Coulter and the list goes on….class acts all and examples that all americans should live by.

    January 5, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. THE DUDE

    People on here STILL bashing Romney. Pathetic.

    January 5, 2014 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. eric stanway

    Does anyone remember Rush Limbaugh asking "What do you call a dog in the White House? Chelsea Clinton!' Oh right, then he apologized. Not.

    January 5, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  12. destroyerofeconomies

    All you liberals please keep posting.your intolerance is stunning.as is your stupidity

    January 5, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  13. Lee

    Romney is a great man and did not deserve her racist comments. She should be fired, to prove the network stands on firmly they won't tolerate any racism. She pick on a family and deliver a half asked apology. She needs to go....we do not need individuals like her that continually try and divide the country on issues like this. We all came from the same place, our family have all suffered for past unfair treatment...we need to get over it and move forward - as a team. She needs to go.

    January 5, 2014 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  14. callnews

    I can't see why two individuals, political or otherwise, can't respond in a correct manner (as both Melissa Harris-Perry and Mitt Romney have in this situation) without reaping scathing comments. We all make mistakes. Success comes when we're able to admit them.

    January 5, 2014 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    that's good. Now romney should get the plank out of his eyes. We all should. Clean your own house before you critic someone else. It will be a much cleaner world.

    January 5, 2014 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  16. Truth

    Once again the hateful left and classy right are on display.

    January 5, 2014 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  17. Mac

    The angry hatefilled racist left will never admit one there own was wrong. Disgusting. Don't support MHP or her sponsors.

    January 5, 2014 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  18. Tommy

    Don't you just love how the "Big 6 Media" outlets and our so-called "leaders" continue to be the single largest driving forces to put racism at our front doorsteps in an effort to divide America for the purpose of keeping their power.

    United we stand – divided we fall. Bye bye Miss American Pie.

    To my brother Democrats and to my brother Republicans: they are separating (or dividing) us from each other so they can steal our nation. This is the rule book they play by. Look very closely at your elected politicians and check where their loyalties reside. Do they reside with you? Or are their loyalties for themselves and their lobbyists?

    January 5, 2014 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  19. FLUX

    He was given an apology. Now where is his apology for saying 47% of Americans are lazy and don't care about their
    lives. Thank god he didn't become President because he is a hypocrite. No...I'm a Republican.

    January 5, 2014 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  20. S~

    Liberals are least tolerant group of any group..

    January 5, 2014 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. Robert

    The left wing screed and bile in these posts is nauseating. Unfortunately for America, the "recipients" now outnumber the "contributors"...and liberals win every time. See "Greece" for the eventual outcome.

    January 5, 2014 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. Bill Willy

    Anyone who has listened to MHP for 5 minutes understands that she is a typical, angry, hate-filled liberal progressive. There's a reason MSNBC is the lowest rated "news" channel on cable, and her and Bashir are why. Their not going to change, because just like Fox News, this is what their viewers like. Anything bad that can be said about the GOP is great, and the dirtier, nastier, and more cruel, the better.

    January 5, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  23. righton

    TheThinker. You got that right. Anyway, the damage is done. Adults should know better than to ridicule someone's child.

    January 5, 2014 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  24. Rickj

    At least she offered an apology. When Fox News pundits, like Megan Kelly, espouse racist or offensive conjecture (e.g. Santa is White, Jesus was White) and then are resoundingly corrected, rather than apologize she offered rebuttal and accused individuals of "race baiting."

    Goes to show that one partisan media group at least takes responsibility for its faults, while the other simply misleads the masses.

    January 5, 2014 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. don in albuquerque

    When they apologize to the POTUS for some of the crap they have said about him, then I'll worry about MittWitt.

    January 5, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
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