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. Jane

    We would be so much better off with the Romneys in the White House. This amateur in the White House is just that.....an amateur. Rudderless, no integrity, no sense of responsibility.....just weak. An embarrassment. If the black community can't see him for what he is.......they're blinded by desire for the sole purpose to see an African American Man in the White House.

    January 6, 2014 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  2. tiredofCNN

    How can anyone hate someone so much, simply because they have different political beliefs, to say something so offensive, especially involving a child? No one needs to watch any of these people, whether they are Republican or Democrat party puppets, so they should be removed from the air by the people paying them if they can't keep it professional. Why did she and her show producers even feel the need to bring this up? As far as I know, Romney isn't a candidate for anything at this time. The Romney family gave a home to a child. Who would think it is right to make fun of that in any way? What does this have to do with anything involved with this woman and her TV show? How about sticking to policy discussions

    January 6, 2014 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  3. Jane

    Does anyone even listen to MSNBC....?? Really, Al Sharpton, that other blowhard Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow......I mean, come on. My 12 year old daughter laughs at them.....of course, she's a bright hard working kid.....the kind of audience MSNBC doesn't cater to. Only young, non-hard working kids.

    January 6, 2014 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  4. Name

    Romney is a gentleman, and I deeply regret supporting Obama.

    January 6, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  5. Brian

    He would have been a much better president, but he wasn't nearly as good at lying.

    January 6, 2014 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  6. JM

    "I am deeply sorry that we suggested that interracial families are in any way funny or deserving of ridicule." This is the issue in this story. Set the politics aside.

    January 6, 2014 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  7. Joe

    Why do Mormons state that people of color are their equals, but fail to update or modify The Book of Mormon?

    January 6, 2014 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  8. lagunalad

    Wow, is he still trying to be relevant??

    January 6, 2014 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  9. Jason

    Mitt Romney had the good sense to take the low-classed behavior, wait for an apology and move on. Had it been Fox making fun of an adoption by Hillary Clinton's daughter, there would have been howls of indignation and accusations of racial malice flying around the TV and internet for weeks on end. Here, Ms. Melissa is given a tiny slap on the wrist by the brass at MSNBC and her heartfelt apology absolves of her of tasteless, low-classed behavior. I still think they should fire her just like they did Martin Bashir for his blatantly stupid, bad behavior. When will Comcast learn.

    January 6, 2014 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  10. janie batt

    Romney is a class act. He would have been a great president.

    January 6, 2014 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  11. Obijuan

    I respect the Journalist for the apology, and of course Romney for accepting it. I hope this is a good starting point as using children as political weapons has been a disgrace coming from both sides of the political spectrum. This is a good example coming from the liberal side, but I also remember this (taken from wikipedia):Senator John McCain was the target of a whisper campaign implying that he had fathered a black child out of wedlock. (McCain's adopted daughter is a dark-skinned child from Bangladesh). Voters in South Carolina were reportedly asked, "Would you be more likely or less likely to vote for John McCain if you knew that he fathered an illegitimate black child?".McCain would later lose the South Carolina primary, and the nomination, to George W. Bush.

    January 6, 2014 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  12. John

    Wow. Paula Deen certainly didn't get off as easily as this reporter. Now we know which side is REALLY the intolerant one.

    January 6, 2014 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  13. tc4012

    Romney has more class in his little finger than this woman has in her entire body.

    January 6, 2014 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  14. MontanaTrace

    Politicians and their minions violate everything sacred. We need term limits.

    January 6, 2014 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  15. Chuck

    I hope people like Granerson take notice of this, because they are not far behind her

    January 6, 2014 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  16. Zoidberg

    That Mormon magic underwear makes him so forgiving!

    January 6, 2014 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  17. Zoidberg

    I call sloppy seconds on Romney!

    January 6, 2014 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  18. Mickey Valladollar

    Romney in 2016 = free Magic Underwear(tm) for everybody!

    January 6, 2014 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  19. Benjamin hall

    She should rethink her sense of humor. And your fired even though I'm not a big fan of mitt

    January 6, 2014 02:58 am at 2:58 am |
  20. boardgamesmasher

    yep it was said, and an apology was made. no need to comment on Romney because he has again done the classy thing. May we all learn from this and not say things that we will regret.

    January 6, 2014 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  21. AJD

    Doesn't seem to me that it was the host herself that said the worst thing, and all in all, compared to a lot of other things that have been said in various media it was pretty mild. I don't think they really said anything "bad" about the baby or disparaged the baby for his race or even disparaged the Romneys for theirs to be honest....sounded more like it was a quip at the Republican party as a whole, not really directed at the baby. Mistake to use the child as a segue into that, but all in all, they weren't disparaging the child in any way that I see. As anti-racist as I am, if I were to see a family picture and notice that one child was of a different race, it would still catch my attention just because that's how the human brain works...when something is different than others in some way, you notice it. It's how you respond to noticing it that makes the difference and they did not respond well and an apology was in order, but as I said, as far as things I've heard in the media, it wasn't pretty mild. Limbaugh calling Chelsea Clinton a "dog" as a young teenager....now THAT is a true outrage and far, far, far worse than this tempest in a teapot.

    January 6, 2014 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  22. JC

    Mitt Romney is a belly up, tail between his legs, pansy politician. Grow a pair buddy! Don't be so quick to accept an apology. They would have raked you over the coals for far less. They should have been made to go to tolerance training, diversity training, while being suspended from their bully pulpit show! No wonder these liberals are running wild and taking over in this country. We have wimps like you as their only opposition.

    January 6, 2014 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  23. rob

    Still doesn't change the fact that she is a racist.

    January 6, 2014 04:10 am at 4:10 am |
  24. Name mark

    Did they fire that chick yet.

    January 6, 2014 04:29 am at 4:29 am |

    Clearly showing why millions of Guns Over People tea potty wingnuts left Mitt swinging in the wind on Nov 6 2012. He's not crazy enough for them.

    January 6, 2014 05:17 am at 5:17 am |
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