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. Leon in KS

    Anyone with 22 grandchildren owes the future an apology. Nice of his daughter to adopt one however.

    January 5, 2014 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. fisher1949

    A fake apology from a vicious woman.

    She is only sorry that her career was put in jeopardy. As usual, the raging lunatics at MSNBC set a new standard for race baiting propaganda.

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

    "Romney is a stand up guy. Unlike the libs."

    You mean like the lib that stood up and apologized? When is the last time you heard a conservative apologize for anything?

    January 5, 2014 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Harry Cline

    Mr. Romney,

    You politicians are famous for labeling everything as a mistake. In our new PC society that's the label to go with so that if it comes from the press they don't put the blood hounds on you.

    This wasn't a mistake ! Surely one does not learn that in journalism school. MSNBC sought to make you look like the typical Republican fraud who try's to portray themselves as 'inclusive'.
    I personally would not be surprised at all if when you took possession of this child you didn't rush it off to be examined by a competent psychologist. As well as a battery of medical test.

    Suffice to say Mr. Romney enjoy your new car elevator.

    January 5, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. whatever

    These news talk shows are full of self righteous pukes that think they know more than everyone else. And why are there actors on them? Because the can act they are intelligent? No they are usually dumber then the average person.

    January 5, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  6. kevindaleparrish

    It is disgusting in any terms to make fun of a two year old child because they are black in a white family, period. These comments suggesting otherwise show how little we have really come since MLK.

    January 5, 2014 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  7. Frankie

    She did the correct thing and that is commendable, It shouldn't have been made into a major issue, then again, this is to distract people from the real issues.

    January 5, 2014 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. dw

    Class act by Romney. Fox News and it's viewers, not so much!!!

    January 5, 2014 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. G. T. Simpson

    Give her credit for the apology – sadly, there are many vicious comments made by left wing anchors/commentators on MSNBC who do not have the courage to do the same thing.

    January 5, 2014 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. dw

    Fox News and it's hateful viewers should learn from Romney ' s reaction

    January 5, 2014 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. hkirwin

    Just sayin too....

    A vast difference between the host(s) of left leaning and right leaning shows: I've yet to hear an apology from the "fox news" anchors for all of the hateful, hurtful rhetoric they've directed at President Obama, at African Americans in general; the list goes on. Too bad Martin Bashir had to resign even after an apology to Sarah Palin but I'm hopeful that Melissa can keep her job. We can learn from our mistakes if our hearts are open and it appears that hers is contrite..

    Please provide some examples to support your rant or no one will believe you unless they want to regardless of facts or the truth.

    January 5, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Nina

    So, she spoke her mind but do you trust a professional with that kind of mentality? Regardless to whom she direct that comment? How low our society is going to go?

    January 5, 2014 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. truthbetold1226

    Now that Romney got his apology, SHOW US YOUR TAX RETURNS FOR THE LAST 11 YEARS, PLEASE.

    Then we will all see how two-faced-hypocritical most right wing conservatives are...

    January 5, 2014 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Michael D. Schwers

    I'd say poking fun at the adopted child is out of bounds and is in bad taste. However Governor, how about an apology to some of the members of the 47% who earned their pensions and benefits after 20, 30 + years of service and don't view these benefits as a hand out? Would you agree your remarks at the dinner in Florida to the "fat cat" donors were in bad taste as well?

    January 5, 2014 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. hkirwin


    Who cares if he accepts the apology or not? He loves to stay in the media. He has far more to apologize for than anyone else. He can take jobs at the blink of any eye, and smile all the way to the bank.

    they never seem to tire of meaning rants and talking points

    January 5, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. UriNation

    Anyone in the media can pretty much say whatever they want, claim a moment of insanity, apologize (whether they are sincere or not), and then life goes on until their next mishap and then scenario repeats itself. People don't just babble; they express what they think.

    January 5, 2014 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Elden

    It's MSNBC who should really be apologizing as well. They are the ones who pressured Melissa weeks ago to come up with topics about race for ratings. She's been having to make racial jokes for the past 2 weeks. Has anyone been paying attention?

    January 5, 2014 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. bonn

    of ALL people for her to make the comment she made? What a maroon

    January 5, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Jared

    Ignorance. It happens... I hope the media learns that personal attacks on politicians are of no use. Talk about policy and actual news. Fox does the same stuff. It goes both ways, and creating more hatred will never help the country.

    January 5, 2014 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Eric

    Here are the facts:

    MSNBC anchor makes stupid, classless statements on national television.
    MSNBC anchor acknowledges the ignorance of statement and directly apologizes.
    Mitt Romney accepts apology graciously.

    It is NOT about Duck Dynasty, unpaid taxes, lost jobs, shutting down FOX News, Hillbillies, Martin Bashir, Sarah Palin, staying above liberal hate, etc.

    I'm glad that she apologized, she needed to.
    I'm glad that Mitt Romney has accepted the apology and is moving on.
    I hope any future cases of "foot in mouth" can learn a lesson or two from the parties involved here.

    January 5, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Jim

    Did Romney complain about the insults or cry when accepting the apology? No, because he has class.

    January 5, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Karl Thoennes

    It's funny, the liberals' comments here are laced with insults and energetic hatred and derision for everyone as usual - Romney, Conservatives, the rich, businesses, employers and others who commented, and yet they always think they're the most compassionate and tolerant people on the planet. I don't know whether to be amazed at the self delusion and absurdity, or burst out laughing. And as for the comment that Romney "must be running for something" because he included *all* his grandchildren in the photo - what would you suggest instead, that he exclude that one grandchild because it might look like pandering?

    January 5, 2014 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. guest

    I can't stand Mitt Romney. I'm glad he lost the election. That said, she SHOULD have apologized. A black woman should have better sense and more political sensitivity than to poke fun at an innocent black child on national television, and to cruelly suggest that the child was an unwanted political token. "Which of these does not belong?" Ugh! Disgusting. And the questions remains of why she did it. The answer: she thought she could get away with it.

    January 5, 2014 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. the troof

    is she still going to claim the moral high ground? you resort to personal attacks when you have nothing else to offer. fake tears, fake apology.

    January 5, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Istlota

    So many years since slavery was the law of the land - yet Americans still carry a collective burden of guilt and anger over that shameful part of our history. Ironically, the fact that slavery did exist is part of the reason America is admirably such a melting pot of the races today.

    We will know that we have finally gotten over it, and moved on, when black people can talk about race without being condemned for 'playing the race card', and when white people can joke about race without having to submit an apology afterwards.

    January 5, 2014 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
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