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. Kanageloa

    Sounds like Melissa was making a racist comment. Could that really be from a reporter?

    January 5, 2014 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. R C

    The fact is, both liberals and conservatives go too far ... often. Neither side demonstrates a higher standard than the other as far as I can tell and neither is a less frequent offender by my count.

    January 5, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  3. Eddy

    Can someone explain to me what is supposed to be funny or not, is there standard limits and measurement or the whole issue is human stupidity

    January 5, 2014 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  4. historyspeaks10

    this is what happens when stupid people are given microphones, a TV show and then open their mouths. it befuddles me how these people are able to get dressed in the morning when their feeble little brain cant have the forethought to know what was being said was offensive, in every possible way, considering a child was involved.

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

    Every political analyst, commentator, pundit, or reporter who ever insults someone in the public space should be fired. Eventually, likely within a week or two, we would be rid of political musings and get back to the task at hand of watching sports.

    January 5, 2014 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  6. stevenc

    For me, the difference here is she recognized her mistake and apologized for it. I have not heard Phil or his Family offer any kind of apology, because they do not believe anything they say could be wrong. Typical of Christian conservatives today, they consider their thoughts above reproach. Big mistake. Seems me and Mitt Romney forgive her.

    January 5, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  7. Paul

    Saw this clip. The panel (guests of the show) were out of bounds. But, it was way over blown by the rest of the media. MHP never said anything thatwaseven close to what I have heard on other stations, especially fox news

    January 5, 2014 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  8. Dan

    Mitt Romney Please RUN IN 2016, there's simply no other choice.

    January 5, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  9. YeahBuddy

    Democrats happily, even proudly said even worse things about Sarah Palin's kids (and still do). While everybody else tiptoed around the President's daughters, Palin's daughters and sons were talked about in severe and vile ways. I still know a few libs today that believe that it was OK. "Oh, that's different...." No it's not.
    That kind of crap says far more about the person that is speaking, about their culture and character and professionalism, than it does about the children they are determined to verbally abuse for purely political gain.
    People who use the children of politicians for their jokes and political slander should be fired. Period. Regardless of which party or political view they represent.

    January 5, 2014 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. cmml

    That's because Romney has class!

    January 5, 2014 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. RBbrighton

    I'm trying to figure someone else's post about how this was nothing compared to what they see on Fox News. Which means they don't watch Fox News.

    January 5, 2014 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  12. Bill

    He should thank her for the free publicity.

    January 5, 2014 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Dan J

    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?

    When was the last time Fox DID something like this? Rush Limbaugh was never part of Fox, and that comment he made was from 20 years ago. You had to go back twenty years to find something made by someone who isn't on Fox, and attempted to spin this as a criticism of Fox. Nice try.
    More importantly, it doesn't discount what MSNBC has done, or has been doing lately.

    January 5, 2014 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Why did she have to apologize to Mittens? It seems the adoptive parents would be owed an apology if they were offended. I believe that's how the right wingnuts put it.

    January 5, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. Jim Krugh

    Mr. Romney certainly deserved an apology. I am not particularly a fan of Mr. Romney nor his faith. However, I do admire and respect how graciously he accepted the correspondent's, hopefully heartfelt, apology and his comments afterwards.

    January 5, 2014 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  16. OhMy

    This was tasteless. Period. She apologized and he accepted. BUT...one question. Why aren't the hypocrites referring to this Black woman as biracial...you know, the way you refer to President Obama's DNA. The answer is simple. If someone does something bad...they're Black regardless of DNA. If they become President...then they aren't Black enough. That's all.

    January 5, 2014 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Tom

    She should be Fired

    January 5, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Tampa Tim

    Right wingnuts who did not even see the clip are the ones expressing outraged, but that is all they have to do. Faux outrage is a many splendored thing to the slow witted.

    January 5, 2014 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Jane

    Yes she apologized, she had too, she did not want to lose her job. She and her crew should be fired. Speaking so badly about a little baby, who cares what color he is, he is a baby. I will never watch MSNBC again!!!

    January 5, 2014 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. Namel lester

    In side casket lids it says if you can read this your not dead yet!

    January 5, 2014 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  21. papa

    She'll get a pass from her White Knight bosses. Guaranteed.

    January 5, 2014 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. Jean Robinson

    Mitt Romney is a TRUE gentleman.

    January 5, 2014 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. barryinlasvegas

    Romney and his wife are very gracious people. A decent and nice man and family.

    January 5, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  24. PS

    I think Romney, as a politician and Presidential candidate, would have been a disaster – I don't defend much when it comes to Obama but I think Romney would have made things worse. He's a rich jerk and had no clue on the country's barometer. That aside, I'm sure he has redeeming qualities as a grandfather and probably loves all the kids running around him making the holidays noisy chaos. He probably spoils them to death and that's cool. NONE of those innocent children should ever have been nor should they ever be a target of nastiness by some news reporters because they don't like the children's Grandpa. I do think it was kind of him to accept the apology and not want to be out for the reporter's head, and it sounds like things were made right. Let her learn her lesson through humility and let her keep her job – sometimes this kind of embarrassment is punishment enough.

    January 5, 2014 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  25. Tom M

    What a classy network with anchors such as Melissa Perry, Al Sharpton. Has anyone gone back to see some of the sermon's the Rev has given over the year's your skin would crawl, What a racist, NBC is sadly more opinion than new's oriented as of late, when you turn that station on you know your only getting half the story.....

    January 5, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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