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. Eugene

    Mitt had only good intentions in adopting this child. Sad he was a victim of a hater. Apology was forthcoming and appropriate.

    January 5, 2014 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. debisis

    Black Americans/pundits are great at getting away with putting their foot in their mouths about white people. What else is new when it comes to everyone more or less tolerating it?

    January 5, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Porchia

    At least he was a class act in accepting her apology. If it had been Obama he would have rallied Jackson, Sharpton and the other crazies.

    January 5, 2014 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. VJ

    Generally Right wont accept the apology.. Mr. Romney had changed it... good for him... He is a very good Mormon.

    January 5, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Republiker

    Perry found out the hard way that the majority of this country is outside of her demented, "liberal progressive" Democrat Freeloader Party bubble agenda.

    January 5, 2014 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  6. Tired of the not important news

    The anchor was reading a canned apology and it is obvious that she is just worried about loosing her job.

    January 5, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  7. Stacy Law

    Wow. Listen to the pitch of her voice and the force of her blurting as she reads the teleprompter. I wonder why she even made fun of them in the first place. Certainly she herself has been made fun because of her lisp. Media people live in glass houses and throw too many stones. May karma light upon their lives and instil humility in them beyond the requisite apologies and staged contrition that they force out of their mouths.

    January 5, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Dave Hawkins

    The trouble with many liberals (and conservatives too) is that they become so wrapped up in their assumed superiority that they don't even realize it when they cross the lines of human decency. It's bad enough on these discussion boards but when it happens on national tv you have to wonder what type of supervision these commentators have. MSNBC really owns this problem and needs to make some supervisory changes.

    January 5, 2014 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. yeah right

    America Suckered Again

    Mitt Romney stays above the liberal hate. That's class.


    Perhaps you should look into what the Bush campaign did to McCain's adopted daughter in the 2000 primaries. A guy you probably voted for. Twice. Suckered indeed.

    January 5, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  10. Butch O'hare

    I am a liberal. I am a Democrat. I am not a fan of Romney. I am seriously not a fan of Sarah Palin. I am however a member of the human race. It is unfair to go after children of political figures. It doesn't matter if it is Amy Carter, Chelsea Clinton, Trig Palin or the Romney grandchild. Wrong is wrong and one's political affiliation will never make it acceptable.

    January 5, 2014 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. FTrice3187

    Her mouth says one thing, but her body language says her only regret is in having to issue an apology.

    January 5, 2014 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. Journey

    Fire her...people really need to start standing up to these oppressive people.

    January 5, 2014 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. del williams

    Romney is not my favorite, but he is in the right here and both he and Harris-Perry are to be commended her. She went over an important line and acknowledged it without equivocation. He took the apology as offered. I suspect both would have preferred that the incident didn't happen, but seem prepared to move on.

    January 5, 2014 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. str8whtguy

    I didn't vote for Romney, and glad I didn't. I'm not crazy at all about his politics, and I am a dyed in the wool liberal. But making fun of his grandchild went across the line. I'm glad the apology was made, and I think that Mr. Romney's acceptance was appropriate and heartfelt.

    January 5, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. bigdoglv

    Oh cry me a river Melissa. Read these comments and enjoy the great division in this country you helped create.

    January 5, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. rebecen

    I'm a liberal and a mother of a transracially adopted child. I am impressed by the seemingly genuine apology and the way Romney accepted the apology. The apology focused on the inappropriateness of the initial comments and Romney's acceptance of that apology was very conciliatory. Neither side used it to flame the fire and both took the high road.

    January 5, 2014 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. nvmature

    I usually agree with nothing Romney or the Republicans say, but this time I do agree: kids and family (not involved in politics) are out of bounds. Harris went too far.

    January 5, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Dave

    I thought that Ironman59′s comment was worth repeating:

    “Quite frankly he wasn’t owed an apology. Where is his apology to all the people he put on the unemployment line? Where is his apology for trashing ACA while having his own state level ACA & praising Israel for their national healthcare? Simple fact is that the few if any convictions he may have had he sold his soul to the far right of the gop to get nominated. He deserves no apology. As the gop is found of saying to the rest of the country with people like duck boy “free speech”.

    January 5, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Silence DoGood

    ""People make mistakes and the folks at MSNBC made a big mistake and they apologized for it,"
    Hold on there Mr.Romney! The MSM will tell you when that horse is dead. The beating will continue!

    January 5, 2014 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Tom Perry

    as a voter from Massachusetts (who has never voted for Romney for anything) I condemn MHP's comments on his family and I appreciate Romney's gracious acceptance of her apology. Romney is not a bad guy, until he runs for an office or drives a company into the ground.

    January 5, 2014 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  21. George

    So why is Melissa Harris-Perry still working for MSNBC, my question to MSNBC is why is she not fired ? ..... Aaah I know

    January 5, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. Jim

    Levine and Seher write, "...after she and a panel poked fun ..." Poked fun? That's what you write if you want to minimize the panel's responsibility.

    January 5, 2014 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  23. IDoubtIt

    Of course he harbors no ill will, he's a decent man who takes the high road.

    January 5, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. George

    anonymous422: I was thinking the exact same thing! Great minds think alike, although I thought he was setting the stage for Tagg, his son. Hey, the whole diversity thing was what got Bush I & II over the hump and into office, why not try it. I think way too much has been made of this, conservatives are like "Wow, liberals are soooo terrible." When Fox News says such garbage 24/7.

    January 5, 2014 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Yeah Right

    Oh course he accepted her apology. He intentionally staged that photo to get into the news because he knew someone would make a comical remark. This is all steering the news on Romneys part to get into the headlines. Nothing more, nothing less. Oh all the people there he happened to have the black baby on his lap? Lol

    January 5, 2014 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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