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. donkey 2016

    TRAIN WRECK EQUALS DAMAGE CONTROL! Repentance equals public apology (humiliation) and ten hail Marys. ABSOLVED? YES!!9

    January 5, 2014 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. Timothy

    Great. The anchor apologized. Romney accepted, next step, fire the anchor.

    January 5, 2014 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. frida

    Move on. Instead of complaining, serve food to those less fortunate from a soup kitchen, deliver Meals on Wheels. Just be kind. There's far too many people sitting in wait to pounce in every word stated in a public arena.

    January 5, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  4. JeninNC

    I don't understand commenters who are claiming that this picture is some kind of opportunistic political photo op. It's his family's annual Christmas card picture for heaven sakes. Like many families, they take one very year with all the grandkids, and every year the group grows. I've seen the photo the last few years and enjoyed counting how many new babies appear in each version and seeing how the kids change from year to year.

    My family does the exact same thing–putting a family photo into a Christmas card. I don't understand this odd desire to turn something positive into something ugly.

    January 5, 2014 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Alan

    I don't believe anything this woman says. She is bias and racist regardless of he her apology. She can stuff sock in it. I heard her comments to me it was straight from her heart. Msnbc forced her apology what they should have done was fire her like they did Martin. These people have no place on TV or news. This is why msnbc is in the gutter where it belongs.
    Msnbc host don't host anything but slander Americans they don't like. So see if she and msnbc can dig themselves out of another embarrassing kodak moment.

    January 5, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  6. tiki jones

    Uh, she looks half black to me! Look at her corn rows or whateva they are! Pot calling the kettle black! NO?

    January 5, 2014 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. libturds

    Nice to see Romney had class when dealing with this racist

    January 5, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Becca Helen

    The only apology should go to the BIRTH PARENTS and the adoptive parents. I'd like to hear about them, anyway. So, do keep milking it for all it's worth. Some journalist will eventually pick up on their trail. MHP was adopted into a huge Mormen family when she was a child, too. Her apology clearly was authentic.

    January 5, 2014 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  9. Delaney Nightyeight

    Now picture this.

    A white News Host poking fun at a African American Child.. You'd have al sharpton and jesse Jackson on TV calling for that Host's job. It be a big UPROAR.

    I love the standards in this country.

    January 5, 2014 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. amy

    Now if he only he can accept his crushing election loss.

    January 5, 2014 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. Mark

    I really think Mitt is a pretty good guy and the host of that show really was way over the line. The far left and far right never fail to show lack of class. But admitting a mistake is big and there are others recently who have said very stupid things that could do well to learn from this and apologize. Just because something isn't offensive to you doesn't mean others are not offended. The best rule is to avoid religion and politics altogether in mixed company... otherwise you are going to be part of the problem.

    January 5, 2014 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Public Opinion of America

    It is not surprising MSNBC has its poorest ratings period in 6 years.

    Shame on MSNBC for its disgusting and contemptible display of pure bigotry.

    January 5, 2014 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Gena4758

    It's a shame that Ms. Perry felt she had to bring up the fact that Romney's son adopted a black child in the first place, but Mr. Romney handled it with class and dignity. He's a smart man. Would have made a good President.

    January 5, 2014 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. jack

    I don't like Mitt Romney for President but the anchor was wrong and I will respectfully defend him on this. She apologized as she should, and he accepted as he should. He still should not become president because he will change the laws and deregulate in the favor of the rich and corporations which will cause massive poverty and destroy the middle class. He would only help the elite rich in this country get richer helping them control us by buying our government and elections. Romney wants to get elected only to serve his personal interests, he doesn't care about anyone else but himself.........

    January 5, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. wow!!

    Americans are heartless!!!

    January 5, 2014 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  16. sbm

    Melissa Harris-Perry is a racist

    January 5, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Jim Nasium

    Could you imagine the loss of bowl control if a Conservative said those things? The howling from the left would continue for years!

    January 5, 2014 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  18. rc hahn

    Please! This has been the lead story for 3 days! Much ado about nothing!

    January 5, 2014 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  19. Chicago887

    Unlike the MSNBC host, Romney has class.

    January 5, 2014 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. ciscokid16

    Should she go?

    Yes↑ No↓

    January 5, 2014 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. OrygunDuck

    Romney would have been better as a guy on "Shark Tank" than as the President.

    January 5, 2014 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  22. Mark

    Fox News is loaded with thinly-veiled racism every single day. I don't condone it, but I will note that when Fox News slanders someone, nobody is surprised…when MSNBC or some other actual news outlet does it, somehow it is "news".

    January 5, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  23. Justice

    They deserve termination for their unwarranted criticisms of a child.

    January 5, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  24. cbp

    Mr. Romney was very gracious about the apology. We all need to be a little more aware about the remarks that we make. As for the Obama girls, they have not received many rude comments. However, they have had to listen to and read comments about their parents which were nothing short of outrageous, rude and mean-spirited. Some were also racist in nature. So while we are talking about this latest disaster let us remember that no one deserves to be receive this kind of publicity.

    January 5, 2014 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. noteasilyswayed

    All of these pundits on both sides of the aisle need to stop trying to cut down the opposition in every imaginable way..... this is what leads to these types of situation. I wish the media would just report the news and stop analyzing every thing and having "experts" dissect and tell us what the news mean.

    January 5, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
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