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. CC

    She just wanted her 15 min...and she got it. Pathetic journalism.

    January 5, 2014 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. andrew

    Future generations will look back and say " If only they had elected Romney."

    January 5, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  3. Clam

    I love how people try and act like "Romney is rich and doesn't have a clue", like Obama is some poor guy from the streets.

    January 5, 2014 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. Bob

    I don't care whether you're left or right, saying garbage like this woman did diminishes all of us. What on earth was she thinking? I guess her true nature came through in a moment when her guard was down. Sad, especially given the platform the woman has. We all deserve better.

    January 5, 2014 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  5. Joe

    Did nbc ever apologize for doctoring the call that George Zimmerman made to the police? No. They are a horrible organization and should be fined millions of dollars for inciting a race war!!

    January 5, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  6. Mike

    Melissa Harris: just another arrogant liberal making a lot of money by being divisive.

    January 5, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  7. afnmvet

    She said she was "deeply sorry". Well then all is ok. If she would have just said she was sorry then there would have been hell to pay.

    January 5, 2014 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  8. fam-supporter

    I say – get rid of Harris-Perry. It's heartfelt because, as usual, it backfired!

    January 5, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  9. carlos

    Melissa Harris-Perry is a hateful piece of human garbage. It was refreshing to see the grace with which the Romney family handled the slur.

    January 5, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  10. Bill

    She's a disgusting small minded fool.

    January 5, 2014 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Paul

    When those on the left make those blunders, there are genuine apologies. When conservatives do them, there are apologies for "choice of language," or "if someone was somehow offended..." I'm still waiting on apologies from the entire Republican leadership for a huge number of their rank-and-file in the congress claiming the President hates America, is not American, doesn't believe in America, doesn't believe in American values, etc. Where are the apologies for claiming he's trying to destroy Israel? Where are the apologies from O'Reilly for saying essentially the same awful insults as Limbaugh about the young woman that spoke up for continued contraception coverage? When are they going to apologize for claiming Islam isn't even a religion? I have friends who are muslims, who love this country and have raised families here, that are genuinely hurt they are depicted as terrorists by conservatives on Fox and other news outlets every single day. The morning team on Fox makes claims like that at least a few times a week, or they'll have guests that say that and won't challenge them at all.

    January 5, 2014 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  12. Pathdoc

    Good to hear from Romney again. America missed out on a great man and a great leader.

    January 5, 2014 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  13. Stephen Mc

    Completely classless comments, but she apologized and Romney graciously accepted.
    Case closed.

    January 5, 2014 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  14. mike

    Say what you will about Conservatives. They may not be perfect, but they are 1000x classier than any given Liberal.

    January 5, 2014 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  15. Jay

    She's a leftist, she's mean. And?

    January 5, 2014 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  16. stick7

    I have mostly enjoyed Harris-Perry's because she does take an even handed approach to most subjects, however in this case she let things get out of hand. She was wrong and had the intestinal fortitude to fess up and give an "unqualified" apology.....a rare thing in this age of parsing words. Added to that was Mr. Romney's classy acceptance of her genuine Mia culpability, which has gained him a lot of points with a huge segment of the population. He could have dragged it through the gutter but instead took the high road. Good on both of them.

    January 5, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  17. Orbit News

    I agree with all the comments on kids–anybody's kids–being out-of-bounds for political discussion or satire. What was most amazing to me in all this is that it was a really great photo of the Romney family. That seemed to be overlooked. Romney is a class act, by the way, in accepting the apology an moving on.

    January 5, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  18. BelladonnaCove

    Romney's can do what they want...everybody else does. Takes guts to adopt a kid who is not yours, and never will be !

    January 5, 2014 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  19. igotuwired

    Horrible remarks from the entire cast of MSNBC. And to think most of their viewers view FAUX NEWS as shoddy journalism! She certainly didn't seem apologetic by saying that Kieran Romney should marry the Kardashian kid so that Kanye and Mitt could be in-laws. She sure didn't seem apologetic by singing "One of these things is not like the other one". Apparently Melissa Harris-Perry's true colors are shining through!

    January 5, 2014 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  20. Steve

    And the Oscar goes to Melissa Harris-Perry for best actress in a non-dramatic role for her tearful apologetic performance in order to keep a job. Bravo! Bravo!

    January 5, 2014 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  21. Mike MacKinnon

    This was a very rude statement and the apology appropriate. But spare me the slop about what a "gentleman" this guy, who made excuses for personal participation in a violent gay-bashing and fights still for the policies of greed and bigotry, is.

    January 5, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  22. Edad

    Too bad she wasn't wearing her tampon earrings. She could have used them to dry those crocodile tears.

    January 5, 2014 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  23. Deesnutz

    Host and guests are closet racists and they showed their true colors that day.

    January 5, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. jeff

    Gee...for a minute there...I thought I was hearing an apology from Paula Deen....with all the tearing up and everything.

    January 5, 2014 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. Edad

    @PS I would encourage you to do so e research into Romney, your assumptions are off base from what I have read. And unfortunately his more heartfelt contributions to people go us noted because he operates anonymously so often.

    January 5, 2014 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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