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. Big_D

    Romney was a nice guy until you look up his money and other schemes his company used to make money off the government they knew was wrong. Resurrect Glass-Steagall then come talk to us about him.

    January 5, 2014 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Clay

    The MSNBC host did the right thing. Now let's shut down the racist Klan channel FOX NEWS. Fox news was a smart move by the Klan , along with conservative talk radio, but people are realizing the real purpose of these hate filled outlets. Lets shut them down, before the weak minded people they influence go crazy. Shut them down. Shut them down.

    January 5, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  3. giatny

    The character of the Romney further contrasts with the lack of class at Msnbc that encourages the daily vilification and ad hominem attacks on the GOP. I can only hope that her apology
    will be matched by her actions in future commentary.

    January 5, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. Kpat

    How the hell did she get a professor deg and a spot on MSNBC? She sounds so idiotic and dumb even in her apology. She's now looking for pity and forgiveness so she can keep this job(she has no prospect anywhere else!). She's like that black guy on american idol who stayed on for years while everyone moved on.....because he has no shot anywhere else. I'm not insulting black people(i deal with extremely smart black engineers daily)....i'm just tired of people getting positions because of their color/race.


    January 5, 2014 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Just me

    I wish these politicians really said what they actually wanted to say. Romney is being politically correct. This thing just apologized because she wants to save her job and Romney accepted it because he is probably going to run for president. At the end of the day we the American people get dishonesty.

    January 5, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. scranton

    Who cares? It's MSNBC, the hate spewing network. Of course Romney accepted the apology he is a class act where MSNBC's thugs aren't.

    January 5, 2014 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Robert

    Democrats like to promote the lie that Republicans hate all black people and it confuses and upsets them when there is evidence to the contrary.

    January 5, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Big_D

    Let's clear something up here once and for all. Just because all the rich people from both parties are doing the same thing, it doesn't make it right or moral. These "job creators" have failed us all and owe the USA a lot of back taxes from all that they destroyed by not helping others by creating jobs. They don't deserve the money we gave them to create jobs because they didn't create them. Bring back the old tax rates, maybe even the 90% so they can get their morals and patriotism back in order. These rich jerks ruined our economy and sold us out overseas. How are the Caymen Accounts Romney?

    January 5, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. hkirwin


    The notion that Mitt Romney is the Angeli Jolie of the Republican Party is hilarious. Anybody who isn't skeptical about the Romney's motives for adopting a black infant is stupendously naive.

    Cletus Romney did not adopt a baby. His daughter did. Have a clue yet. Why so much hate?

    January 5, 2014 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Mr Romney is a good man. I wish that he could serve the US in some capacity.

    January 5, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. ethical 0

    She is still an ethical and moral 0. She needs to keep her job and not get dirtied by this..t'.is all she is doing

    January 5, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  12. Sherman

    I suppose one really sad thing is that these guys spend so much time being disingenuous, it's impossible to know if she was sincere or not.

    I guess that is part of the danger when you spend a career twisting the truth instead of looking for it.

    January 5, 2014 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. hkirwin

    I R Amazed

    What does anyone think he's going to do?
    Be a complete "Richard" and throw down?
    He has nothing to be gained by keeping this alive, especially with someone who is actually from a mixed race family herself.

    You can't win when you duell with dolts.

    January 5, 2014 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  14. BK

    This country is in desperate need of leaders who who are willing to accept public service positions and contribute to the betterment of national policies. We discourage these leaders from accepting public office when we expose their children to ridicule in the media. In the news industry, rape victims and are not identified without their consent out of respect. That is a self policing rule established by the industry. The families of public figures should be off limits to the media and the entertainment industries. David Letterman crossed the line with Sarah Palin in the same way as Harris-Perry crossed the line with Romney. A "hands-off policy" on the kids of public figures is not incongruous with freedom of the press. It represent a balance with class and dignity.

    January 5, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Big_D

    Romney would have been the worst president ever. It was clear he didn't care about people when he made the 47% comment.

    January 5, 2014 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  16. BO

    It is sad to realize the class act we could have had for president. Really sad.

    January 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. JSTC2020

    Its' unfortunate that Mitt Romney has to accept an 'apology' and accept exploitation from MSNBC. Melissa Harris-Perry herself is 'one-sided' point of view continues to weak havoc at MSNBC. She's borderline questionable in her opinion and needs to be 'fired'. - Given Romney family are 'white' she posed the differences as in her own story. - When does it end?... I believe Blacks just like Whites should all be held accountable for 'one-sided' opinions. - No room for morning-after apologies...you're in in mega-lime light of the media; you should know better.....fire MHP!

    January 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Not Today

    You ask a bunch of comedians to respond and then get vilified when they makes jokes?

    January 5, 2014 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  19. John Hillman

    Don Imus lost his job. Paula Deen lost an empire. Phil Robertson lost his job. This woman did not. Which one in this picture is different?

    January 5, 2014 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Not Today

    You ask a bunch of comedians to respond and then get vilified when they makes jokes? How did they not see this one coming?

    January 5, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  21. Truth Teller

    I find it ironic that all the folks demonizing MHP for her panels discussion which centered on the Black grandchild of Mr. Romney would defend this Black grandchild. These are the same people that demonized Trayvon Martin for being murdered while simply walking home from the store with ice tea and skittles.

    The honest truth is conservative demonize Black Youth on a consistant and standard basis, this same Black grandchild will NEVER be accepted by the very people that are here supporting him when this child turns into a teenager or young adult. Conservatives have been trained to hate Black Youth and see them as threats, stop with the Hypocrasy regarding Mr. Romneys Black Grandchild.

    January 5, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  22. hkirwin

    Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    When did we ever see the apologies from the Bush campaign in 2000 when they skewered McCain in the South Carolina primary when they put forth that "Did you know McCain has a Black baby" in reference to his adopted daughter? Funny how hypocrisy works, isn't it? And the McCain incident was within their own party!!!

    Does anyone have a clue about this rant?

    January 5, 2014 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. just saying

    the real irony in all of this is that this woman is the product of a biracial marriage. her mother is a white mormon. one would think her of all people, would be the last person on the planet to do and say things aimed at this child. it really does make one wonder about the psychological damage that these far left hate merchants harbor and hide.

    January 5, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  24. hkirwin


    There was No need to apologize PERIOD

    Why is there so much hate on the left?

    January 5, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  25. wat

    Love Mitt. He is so gracious. I believe he is a good man and he is a smart business man. He would make a good president. I wish he would give it another shot. MSNBC is out of control.

    January 5, 2014 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
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