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. ewsteadman

    I am a registered Republican who voted for Romney. I have to choose a party to be registered, but I consider my views moderate. If I always voted party lines it would mean that I am not open to change – my views will always stay the same and I will block out any person or circumstance that challenges my current thought on issues. I will never say I will always vote Republican or Democrat because I believe that makes me narrow minded. The reason I point this out is I'm tired of many people in this country pointing fingers, playing the blame game, making immature and ignorant comments just because they are a Republican or Democrat.

    With this said, I disagree with what Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty said, however it's freedom of speech and that's a great right we have in this country. He truly feels that way and he has the right to express it, but I hope he will change because it's a heart issue. It's not a Christian issue a race issue, etc. It's a people issue. Clearly I disagree with Melissa Harris-Perry's comments. In addition to her hurtful comments that can be applied to many people and families in this country, she too is interracial and was adopted by a white family. It's not a black or white issue. Maybe, just maybe the people of this country can move forward to see people as just people – not black or white, adopted or not, democrat or republican. If we can't agree on this one issue, then we will never move forward as a country.

    January 5, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Freedom Ain't Free

    The Romney's bought the child as a prop for future election bids.

    January 5, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Fire her. She won't get fired though, she is a liberal and they are allowed to say whatever they want, the apologize and everything is forgiven.

    January 5, 2014 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  4. Bought and Paid For

    Adopted, we know this kid was bought like the rich buy houses and cars.

    January 5, 2014 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |

    MSNBC – Racially editing the Zimmerman 911 tapes
    Sharpton – Enough said there
    Melissa – following in the footsteps on the above as racists.

    You are judged by the company you keep and all the above are racists.

    January 5, 2014 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Steve

    Apology is not enough. Jobs should be lost. How unprofessional and racist. Not surprised knowing the network.

    January 5, 2014 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  7. hkirwin


    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!

    LOL..."most Republican"....is that like most blacks."

    January 5, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  8. glj

    So if this had been a FOX reporter saying this, the Democrats would have been demanding her job. So I have to ask why is she still employed?

    January 5, 2014 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Margie

    She is why I don't watch MSNBC. They are all racists and bigots.. They want everyone to respect to them and except their way of living. Yet, they do not want to except and respect mine. They get to say anything they want no matter who they hurt and if I were to do the same, I am bigot and racist.
    I never tried to force my ways on anyone. Can they say that? Look where we are now. We respected their right to free speech, look where that has gotten us.
    Looks like live and let live is not in their vocabulary as it is in mine. I was taught when in Rome do as the Romans do. You respect another's way of life, as long as it is not harmful to other, even it you don't agree with.
    The people of MSNBC has done more to create hate and racism in this country than ever before.
    Forgive her, why cause she was called on it?. She should be fired, just like they would call for the firing if this happened on FOX. Oh, and I don't care what color she is.

    January 5, 2014 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  10. Linda

    This woman has been very forthright with her apologies, enough of that, what more can she do? I think it is an indictment of the type of talk shows, morning news programs, where supposed news reporters are encouraged to sit around and comment on the news. There is probably a requirement that they maintain political correctness, but the conversation is casual, and can easily cross the borders of correctness unintentionally. Once a person is caught in such a situation, he or she can be maligned by the public unmercifully. To my mind, that itself is cruel. We are all in the process of learning how to respect others, unfortunately this woman had to learn it publicly. Leave her alone and congratulate Mitt Romney on the newest member of his family. Anything more than that is just hate mongering on one side or the other.

    January 5, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  11. hkirwin


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

    proof you can't fix stupid

    January 5, 2014 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Crummy people

    F I R R her!!!!!
    F I R R
    F I R R
    F I R R
    F I R R
    F I R R
    F I R R

    January 5, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Sashatree

    Good for him. It was the "christian" and "gentlemanly" and "polite" thing to do. I still wouldn't ever vote for him, however. But, I'll give him credit for accepting her apology.

    January 5, 2014 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Dawn

    Being a Asian adopted into a white family, you can suck it! Damage is done. You just proved what goes through your ignorant little brain when you see a non typical family.

    January 5, 2014 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  15. Becky Lou

    I'm sorry she said what she said because it only gives that jerk Romney more publicity.

    January 5, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. mizou

    I am not going to defend H-P's comments–they were sophomoric.

    But many on the right have gone after Obama's girls, where were the defenders of black children then?

    For example-Rick Santorm talking about the costs for Secret Service protection when the girls vacationed in Mexico; the NRA video complaining about the girls having Secret Service protection at their school; Limbaugh making fun on the younger one when he pretend to be her asking about how much he was going to "squeeze" out of British Petroleum for screwing up the Gulf, or comparing a 12 year old Chelsea Clinton to a dog

    Thank You


    January 5, 2014 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. kyjurisdoctor

    forget mitt. i wanna hear what his wife anne has to say about it!

    January 5, 2014 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  18. Steve

    Romney is not the right man for this point in time but he does have some class

    January 5, 2014 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Name

    Msnbc prides itself on being all things PC.
    Romney came away as a class act.
    Harris apolgized as if she just comitted manslaughter,
    And we are slowly becoming boring PC correct boyscouts who have to sanitize all dialogue.

    January 5, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Name

    She didn't talk bad bout the child. The pint of the segment that everyone missed was how ironic it was for him to hold the adopted black child while he was proven to be a racist. That was the point which fox took out of context. Rather than to blow it up worse, msnbc took the high road and apologized for referencing the child. Do ur hw

    January 5, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  21. liberal hogwash

    Mitt Romney has class, intelligence and ability. MITT PLEASE RUN IN 2016 America needs a decent, moral President.

    His quiet – behind the scenes – good works and 24/7 care for the needy or aged speaks volumes about his character.

    Whatever possessed America to allow CNN and MSMBC with their consistently dishonest and hateful campaign to

    hammer this good man and foist Obama on the country?

    January 5, 2014 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  22. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    The first time Romney has shown common decency in awhile. He probably would have won the last presidential election if he had been more like himself and less like the Tea Party extremists and Koch brothers wanted him to be like.

    January 5, 2014 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  23. divejoy

    Remember SNL eddie Murphys Im" Ronald Regans illegitimate son" Its embarasing dad!

    January 5, 2014 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  24. Randy from California

    I don't believe that the apology was heartfelt, she knew she messed up and was trying to save her job. She went with the old faithful and let the tears try to fall. It is very sad, if this had been a white male he would have been FIRED on the spot and would not have even been given the chance to say he was sorry. She is a very smart lady with a PHD and knows the game

    January 5, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. jack

    The anchor was obviously wrong and was looking for a way to bash Romney which was despicable and racist. She apologized as she should have and Romney accepted the apology as he should have. I don't like Romney for president but I will defend him respectfully on this. He still should not become president because he will change the laws and economic system in the Corporations and the riches favor even worse. We would see massive poverty, no middle class, and excessive greed and profits going to the 1% even more. The income inequality will skyrocket and deregulation will allow corporations and banks to screw over the american people. The poor needs to be helped lifted out of poverty with a decent living wage and the middle class to grow if we ever want to see a prosperous and thriving economy ever again........

    January 5, 2014 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
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