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. vivien

    I think Romney's religion is one of the kookier ones and I don't agree with many republican positions; however, I have always believed Romney is a genuinely decent man, and this gracious response is exactly what I'd expect from him.

    January 5, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. ImvotingforHillary

    When are all you righties going to demand Limbaugh to apologize for all the racist rants he has said about Obama? Yeah, I thought so.

    January 5, 2014 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Dan

    Of course Mitt accepted her apology. He is a gentleman

    January 5, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Dave

    I keen insight into the real thoughts and behavior of many on the left. Yet, the "claim" to be more accepting. More accepting only if they think you are like them and agree with them and that "their" views can be the only one's worth following. .

    January 5, 2014 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. Greenspam

    Romney has mellowed out... he's not going to run for office again. His focus is private wealth generation

    January 5, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. Tony in Stl

    Romney needs to be apologizing to the American people! For what he attempted to do in 2012!

    January 5, 2014 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  7. CHER352

    "But, she (Harris-Perry) said, families are always "off limits"
    Wish that were the case in both the media and all other venues.

    January 5, 2014 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  8. Independent

    Mit-Wit must have gotten a super deal on that child.

    January 5, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. shawbrooke

    What is most troubling is that the speakers making the insults were promoting existing prejudicial and rhetorical beliefs among the left against Republicans to a specific person and family. The media should not make rhetoric into personal charges. Second most troubling is that the speakers went after children, and grandchildren at that, of a public figure.

    Mr Romney's administration set up a successful health scheme in his state by reaching out to his opposition. Mr Romney's experience would have been an asset in getting together a health system in the US. Mr Obama did not get around to a health system until his second term, his government used the proposed health system against his opposition, the Obama government attempted to use the health system to push other causes and decrease freedoms, and then the system proved too complex to get up and running. Altogether a disaster.

    In that context, applying common anti Republican rhetoric so obviously wrongfully to Mr. Romney's family is completely beyond the pale.

    January 5, 2014 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. fletcher

    Romney is a class act. He would have been a great president. Too bad we had so many voters taken in by Obama and Company.

    January 5, 2014 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. robtalee

    A heartfelt apology and acceptance. What civility for a change.

    January 5, 2014 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  12. Joe Bob

    She screwed up and apologized.
    He was gracious and accepted.
    Life goes on.

    Sounds like all the adults are in the room, to me. Know, if only Congress could follow suite.

    January 5, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. TallinOK

    Romney showed a lot more class than that smug harridan.

    January 5, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Nick

    Wouldn't it be great if the hosts on MSNBC had the class that Romney exhibited? I guess if they did they wouldn't be working for MSNBC. One of the qualifications for MSNBC is how well you can trash a persons reputation and character.

    January 5, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. Adoptee

    I'm a transracial adoptee and think the reaction is out of proportion. Yes it was bad taste to air this on TV but the conversation was neither malicious nor ill-intended. On the flip side it gives national coverage on (international) adoption which currently is rare.

    It seems like Melissa is extremely upset and I hope she gets counseling before falling into depression, etc. She should not be subject to any more disciplinary action.

    FYI, I see much much worse reader comments to various news articles online. In comparison, this is nothing.

    January 5, 2014 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. NyteShayde

    Palin's kid is an adult and a hypocrite who stepped into the limelight for her own greed and fame. She is a PR disaster for her ignorant mother and is nothing more than white trash. She was fair game and deserved every cheap shot she was handed.

    January 5, 2014 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  17. berniecat@outlook.com

    who care what this fascist has to say ! show your tax returns cheater ! this was purely a political stunt from these disgraceful people ,,, he thinks middle class is 250K ,, shows how out of touch the draft dodger is

    January 5, 2014 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  18. Bruce Miller

    Good, now everyone can move on.

    January 5, 2014 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Rizzo

    MSNBC needs to be shutdown

    January 5, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Mario

    It wasn't that big of a deal to begin with, but Melissa has a lot of class. I don't remember Romney apologizing to the entire GLBTQ community for his cut throat gay bashing bigotry or apologizing to women, or poor people, or people of color for all the horrible things he was planning to do if he won the election. Mitt Romney is a smug bigot who harbors intense hatred for the working poor and the homeless and he Never apologized for that. I'll bet money that the Romney family is planning to brainwash that poor kid to betray the entire African American community.

    January 5, 2014 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  21. Bribarian

    Some nice fake tears.

    January 5, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  22. Kyle

    Is there EVER a day that goes by which doesn't report on some "thought crime" that happened? What you can say, what you can think. It's going into overdrive and it's sickening.

    January 5, 2014 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. Mario

    And to respond to YeahBuddy, Sarah Palin gleefully says abusive horrible things about the entire GLBTQ community and makes racist comments all the time, thats why she jumped to the defense of the bigots on Duck Dynasty, and for those of you screaming that Melissa should be fired, I doubt any of you said Rush Limbaugh should have been fired for all the horrible bigots evil things he's said about practically everyone (for example the ugly things he said about women who use birth control). Republicans hold up bigotry as a badge of honor and celebrate it and brag about it.

    January 5, 2014 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  24. Mario

    horrible "bigoted" not bigots, typo

    January 5, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  25. Mario

    When liberals and democrats make a mistake they apologize and try to correct it, when republicans do it they get outraged that everyone is aware they made a mistake and demand an apology from everyone else.

    January 5, 2014 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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