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. RJay

    Mr. Romney is being gracious in accepting an apology for behavior that was very mean-spirited.

    January 5, 2014 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  2. Fr1st ps0t!


    January 5, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  3. Lynn

    It doesn't chage the fact he's a fake .

    January 5, 2014 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  4. NeverForget

    When Paula Deen gets her book deal and all her endorsements back, I will then forgive Melissa Harris-Perry.

    January 5, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. ariel

    Mr. Romney is being gracious in accepting an apology for behavior that was very mean-spirited.

    January 5, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. don imus

    Harris-Perry, the nappy headed hoe should be fired!

    January 5, 2014 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. jan53


    January 5, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Karen

    Melissa Harris-Perry is obviously sincere with her apology to the Romney family. This lady has integrity which is apparent if you ever watch her. I am convinced there was no intention, considering her own family background , to intentionally hurt anyone's' feelings. As Romney said " People make mistakes". Time to let go.

    January 5, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. Tommy Mack

    Ah, just like the apology from Rush Limbaugh when he called a 12-yea- old Chelsea Clinton "The new White House Dog." Oh wait, he didn't! He blamed it on a "producer" and laughed. Nevermind.

    January 5, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. Carolyn

    Governor Romney is a true class act. The folks at MSNBC could learn a lot from him.

    January 5, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. NorCalMojo

    Good for him. He acted like a grown man.

    Whining about every little offense is for losers and little girls.

    January 5, 2014 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Forrest

    Okay LGBT community, NAACP, Al Sharpton, Shahrazad Ali and the rest of those who are constantly trying to throw people under the bus for anything they may say or have ever said. The Romney family has shown you how it's done. Pay close attention and see if you can learn something from the class act they are.

    January 5, 2014 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. anotherrandomobserver

    So when do conservatives have to start apologizing for their offensive remarks? Or do they simply lack the human decency to ever do so?

    January 5, 2014 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Chris Honry

    Well, she's half Black and claims it, wearing corn rolls, so she won't be demonized like a White person would be. I'm glad that Mitt was a true Christian about it though, he didn't act like Al or Jesse.

    January 5, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. Dude in Colorado

    I don't think what Harris-Perry said was cool, no way, but I respect her integrity in owning her mistake and apologizing...

    All that said, I'm waiting for Sarah Palin, or some Teapublican to chime in to Harris-Perry's defense about free speech rights and how political correctness is such garbage. So, anyone out there want to champion free speech and assail the liberal dragon called PC? Anyone...? Hello?

    January 5, 2014 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Donna

    Mitt Romney has more class and integrity in the tip of his little finger than all of clowns on MSNBC combined. It is a tragedy for this country that they refused this man the presidency and instead voted for the Liar of the Year.

    January 5, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. BO

    The real hate in America eminates from the left.

    January 5, 2014 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Latonya Thigpen

    Mr. Romney was the bigger person in this. There shouldn't have been any mocking of the photo in the first place. That was completely wrong! I give Mr. Romney much respect for stepping up and accepting her apology!!!

    January 5, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. goodgriefgetoverit

    Romney demonstrating class and graciousness and that he is a true gentleman. This man would have been a brilliant President in stark contrast to the bumbling apologist we -re-elected.

    January 5, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. HermantownHawk

    Sincere apology, graciously accepted. Optimal outcome.

    January 5, 2014 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. Tony

    This is the big difference between the right and left. The right is forgiving, and the left goes for blood and death. According to the left operation, this news person should have been fired, period.

    January 5, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Ryan

    A gentleman indeed. Truly a shame that he isn't our President. I guarantee that Ms Harris didn't vote for him. Example of the type of voter that put the present guy in the White House.

    January 5, 2014 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Irrational Exuberance

    At least Harris-Perry and pia Glen figured out, somewhat quickly, what they did crossed a line.

    Dean Obeidallah on the other hand still doesn't seem to understand what he said was on the wrong side. His defense of course is, no one rebuked him, until someone did. But those rebuking him were immediately labeled trolls. Nice defensive tactic there. No one disagrees with me, and those who do are just trolls.

    January 5, 2014 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. william friend III

    oh yes, oh yes, oh yes–melissa harris-perry, is correct in saying that family and children especially infants who can't speak for themselves are off limits...SOMEWHAT...i wish that this story would receive the attention it so desperately requires...most of the time when you see one who is NOT white speaking about racists people and their ignorant religion (such as: moronism-the religion joesph smith received through the power of god by sticking his face into a hat-enter the book of mormon: the only accurate true word of god [in this book/gospel of god, BLACK skin and ALL other colors of skin that are not WHITE are descendants of cursed people by said god almighty himself] this is not conspiracy theory...you can easily read it for yourself in moronism text by looking in the index for black in the book of mormon)...anger tends to surface...LET ALONE MITT ROMNEY WAS A PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE...IDIOT GOT 60 MILLION VOTES TO BOOT...

    the real stink of this story is the child...was what melissa harris-perry said any less vulgar than a religion who untill 1972 or so would not allow blacks the same religious offices as whites because they were cursed by god...the book of mormon is very specific on just how disgustingly cursed it is to NOT be white...

    you know, for a network who broke the illuminati bankers scandal...you think they would be intelligent enough to combat such a simple argument...

    maybe one should educate the public about cult religions who use drugs to brainwash parishioners into believing ridiculous junk doctrine (such as above stated) by way of dope (their version of the holy ghost/power of god)...and why THIS is americas real threat to national security...

    January 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  25. Name

    She must be a racist like Obama. Anything said toward this dictator is called a racist. It has nothing to do with race its his policies that are hurting the economy, and everything else he does.

    January 5, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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