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. joe

    First he should not of accepted the apology – it was clear SHE had an agenda.

    Second – the way the liberals on here justify this is this way "Well FOX and The Republics said X and never apologized" – you all sound like 5 year olds...

    No excuse – MSNBC sucks and so does the Anchor

    January 5, 2014 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. Bubba

    Now if the jigs could only be so understanding.

    January 5, 2014 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Elliott Carlin

    She obviously needs to go to sensitivity training. Please provide a certificate of completion before going back on the air. Thanks.

    January 5, 2014 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. BelladonnaCove

    Yes, it is free publicity.

    January 5, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Sam

    Ronney has class even in the face of racism…. That host should be fired immediately along with her band of really low budget comics who were with her spewing racial innuendoes

    January 5, 2014 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  6. BelladonnaCove

    I'm sure the Romney's are nice people.

    January 5, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. zenreaper

    I am seeing many many comments on how the folks on the "right" shoudl accept both the apology and Mitt's acceptance of the apology and be done with it.

    To them, I ask the following. Did Paula Deen's OBVIOUSLY tearful and sincere apology for a WORD she used, aimed at no one in particular, 40 years ago? Of course not, the "apology" was not enough, the left called for her THROAT, and settled on her career. The problem is that the left DEMANDS that people THEY have deemed to insult someone be CRUCIFIED, yet when one of THEIRS misspeaks, all of a sudden a few words fixes everything.

    Now, you can twist this any way you want, but its a double standard.

    January 5, 2014 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  8. twonsify

    Aside from the obvious issue of being racially insensitive, what an incredibly immature thing to do. It's nice to hear the Romney's took the high road but how MSNBC could believe any of those making the comments would have any sense of credibility is beyond me.

    January 5, 2014 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  9. Freddo

    Waaaaah .... what nonsense. She's in tears .. when she should never have made the joke to begin with. Had a conservative talking head made the same comment, they'd be crucifying them. She deserves no less treatment from members of the Left.

    January 5, 2014 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. LGJE

    She has destroyed her creditability as a reporter – if those types of thoughts are floating around.

    January 5, 2014 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  11. DH

    So when are the tasteless crass disgusting statements said on fox everyday, disrespecting our president, plan on apologizing?

    January 5, 2014 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  12. Bobcat

    I agree, the reporter has little respect for family; no reason to build her ego by attacking children.

    January 5, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. TheMovieFan

    I would never expect an apology from FOX.

    January 5, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  14. cnet

    Romney has class.

    January 5, 2014 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. manonelise

    She should still lose her job – decide to be a journalist or apply to radar online

    January 5, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  16. Gene

    Regardless of the left or right. These talking heads are always catching foot-in-mouth disease. Bill O'Reilly's remarks about the expected behavior of blacks at a restaurant he was attending, or his referring to a young female law student that he didn't agree with as a whore, which btw was also done by Rush Limbaugh. The feigned indignation that I see from some on this thread should win an acting award. It's almost funny.

    January 5, 2014 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  17. fandancy

    He took the high road.
    Too bad a lot of other politicians in both parties can't seem to do the same.

    January 5, 2014 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. louenglish

    Romney is a nice guy for doing this in spite of the hurt it must have caused his family

    January 5, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  19. knklhead

    Neither Mitt Romney nor Melissa Harris-Perry are perfect. But both showed class after this definition of bad class. This was a real apology ... how many fake apologies have we seen in recent years?

    January 5, 2014 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. louenglish

    What else could he do. The whole community was watching and judging his actions.

    January 5, 2014 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  21. Neokat1

    America needs Mitt Romney!!!

    January 5, 2014 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  22. s dale

    I am a loyal MSNBC watcher. You should at least suspend Melissa Harris-Perry and consider firing her.

    January 5, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. Vato Loco

    I'm so proud of my LDS brother, we do forgive...for the seculars, I think she should still be fired!

    January 5, 2014 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  24. Fred Flintstone

    That's a classy man! If that was Jessie or Al they would beat that to death and make as much money off of it they could.

    January 5, 2014 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  25. Steve

    This isn't news, can we move on and give me something decent to read?

    January 5, 2014 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
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