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. Arrimine Venyalla

    Romney has led a truly distinguished life of accomplishment. It's a shame he has to stop what he's doing to accepting the apology of someone most people have never heard; a complete waste of his time.

    January 5, 2014 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Smitty

    Why are Obammy supporters so ignorant ???? Remember who won BIGGEST LIAR OF THE YEAR AWARD ?? Mitty as usual sowed some class, something Obammy and his zombie followers have none of.

    January 5, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. fastrack

    Unlike the justification-littered "apologies" that come from Faux News ("IF what I/we said has offended anyone, I/we apologize" – thereby lending doubt to anyone at all taking offence to the lies they foment), this was a heartfelt apology. For once, Romney was correct. Let's move on. This is an election year, and it's only going to get uglier from here on out.

    BTW, NameDave – tolerance from the Right is a VERY rare bird....

    January 5, 2014 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Ricky Gibson

    Children should be off the table, I guess.

    Just like the time Rush Limbaugh (on his TV program) said, "The Clintons got a new dog today!" and held up Chelsea's picture.

    When was the last time Fox and company apologized for something like this?

    January 5, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    They don't deserve the money they gave them? You know all they did was let them Keep the Money they earned "They" did not give them anything.

    January 5, 2014 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. tony in charlotte

    Classy and Presidential guy ! better than the Inept in office!

    January 5, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. James

    I'm not a Romney apologist. I am a democrat, African American, and I voted for Obama and still support him without reservations. I will give Romney much credit for being gracious enough to accept the apology without making further political hay out of it. Some of my fellow democrats in this blog are behaving in the ugly way that republicans normally behave. Stop it! Families should always be off limits in these political discussions and Harris-Perry was simply WRONG! I didn't know Romney had an African American grandchild. If his family can extend love out to a needy child, whatever the color, that should be saluted, not criticized. And the rest of you, dem or rep, who want to make ugly, hateful statements, shame on all of you!

    January 5, 2014 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Sue

    For the first time in my life, I am embarrassed of my country.........Not because the country voted for Obama the first time.....But, because the country voted for him the second time--after his incompetence, corruption, cluelessness, and lies were exposed.

    It makes me want to cry when I think that we could have a competent, successful, intelligent, classy leader in the White House such as Romney-but we got 4 more years of Obama instead.

    January 5, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Who cares? Wern't people just crying and screaming about free speech with that whole duck dynasty thing? Love how some comment a MSNBC host made in bad taste makes front page news on CNN for days yet Fox hosts make outragous\racist comments regularly and are never expected to apologize.

    January 5, 2014 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  10. Retired

    Those of you who post that a person like Romney gets rich(er) by laying off people are ill-informed...

    January 5, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  11. ru serious

    He's a class act as opposed to those truly awful people at MSBNC who had to take cheap shots at a baby, to advance their screwed-up political agenda......typical libs arrogant and smug , so-o intelligent, so-o witty, ugh, go away. Can't wait until next election(s) so these people can crawl back under their rocks.

    January 5, 2014 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. noneyo getit

    I am glad you when the "sane" GOP know where to draw the line.

    Incidentally governor Christie made similar comments regarding the NRA's attack of Obama's children. Remember that terrible scandal of how the first family needed *gasp* armed guards.

    January 5, 2014 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  13. Susie

    Poking fun because a family is inter-racial isn't funny whether the joke is aimed at the parent or the child.

    January 5, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  14. merlinsscience

    To all who would say, "he was owed no apology because (fill in the blank)" or "what about the first amendment" (obviously referring to the Phil Robertson/A&E debacle): shame on you. These were jabs at a child. No one's Freedom of speech was violated or even in question, no one was punished, but their judgment and sense of good taste was. She recognized her mistake, made an apology- it was accepted; time to move on. Those of you who would rush to Harris' defense must be lonely... She doesn't defend herself because she knows it was in bad taste.

    January 5, 2014 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  15. Marie MD

    Once again who cares what the twit has to say.
    That child is a prop for something in the future for this family of losers.

    January 5, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  16. JennySue

    This is the usual stuff from this channel. She seems to think it would be alright to poke fun about this, if it was only aimed at the adult. This is not funny and the family should be commended for their generosity. Maybe this is why they are so blessed.

    January 5, 2014 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  17. don

    i'm a conservative, so whatever Romney does is all right to me.

    January 5, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. PJ

    That was the most ridiculous photograph I have ever seen. A bunch of clones and one African-American infant. The reporter was correct even if not politically correct.

    January 5, 2014 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  19. Torey101

    As a conservative, I cringe when I am lumped in with the wingnuts like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. Fox news was smart enough to know that and took them off the air. There are nuts on both sides that breed hate, fear, racism and bigotry. They should not be given such a public platform. For MSNBC to continue to support racist hate-mongers such as MHP and Al Sharpton is an affront to the decent folks on the Left. Public debate is what Democracy is built on, but the extremists and those who pay them to spew their hate are killing Democracy and laughing all the way to the bank.

    January 5, 2014 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. patsnj

    Yes, it was photo put out there for selfish reasons on Romney's part. Any political figure who nationally releases a photo like that is up to something. Just the name of the game. BUT, Harris-Perry is just another young journalist out there trying to make hay with cheeky, self-serving comments. She's not good at what she does. Ego. pure and simple.

    January 5, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. phneutral

    Stick a fork in her, she's done.

    January 5, 2014 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. nawal

    I can't believe what all the hypocrites of this world put this poor reporter through for simply thinking out loud and being surprised to see the Romney (s) with a child who did not look white -let's cut the the phony rightousness -we all thought the same thing –even the holier than thou conservatives –they were just as blown away by the sight of the picture as everyone one of us -you simply do not ever expect the Romney rich and Mormon to be seen with a black baby much less adopt one.--Romney new agenda –to use that poor baby for his next election.

    January 5, 2014 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Roy R

    So if this was a black politician and a white journalist, do you really think an “I’m sorry” would suffice? The media and activists would want the journalist’s head.
    Mitt showed he was the bigger person.

    January 5, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. hospicern

    Comparing the comments of Harris-Perry to those of Robertson is just plain silly for those on the left calling for Sarah Palin and co to come to the defense of Harris-Perry for freedom of speech. Robertson gave an answer to a direct question from GQ re what his personal opinion of something was...Harris-Perry went after a child unprovoked...come on folks!

    January 5, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. istenno

    i think both the apology and the acceptance of it were class acts for both. it's not often that people suck it up and apologize so openly when they've done wrong. most of the time, such apologies are cut with excuses and annoyance and feel begrudging. Romney was gracious in both his acceptance and in his understanding that the apology was real. i actually have a bit of respect for him now.

    January 5, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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