Joe Wilson Apologizes, Again, and Obama Accepts

The drama continues today over Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama's speech last night. The South Carolina Republican went before reporters this morning and repeated his apology over his “You lie!” outburst. One thing that caught this Gaggler’s eye: Wilson said that GOP leadership told him to call the White House and apologize. Not to be nitpicky, but is Wilson trying to send the message here that’s he’s not all that contrite? For the record, Rob Miller, Wilson’s Democratic opponent in 2010, has raised more than $200,000 since last night. We were wondering if Wilson had perhaps raised some money of his own, but his office isn’t talking.

At the White House, Obama made his first remarks about the heckle, telling reporters that he’d accepted Wilson’s apology. "Yes, I do," Obama replied. "He apologized quickly and without equivocation, and I'm appreciative of that." And, he slyly suggested the media should maybe move on. Here’s Obama’s remarks, courtesy the White House:

Q: Do you accept Wilson's apology, sir?

     THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I do. I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes. He apologized quickly and without equivocation, and I'm appreciative of that.

     I do think that, as I said last night, we have to get to the point where we can have a conversation about big, important issues that matter to the American people without vitriol, without name-calling, without the assumption of the worst in other people's motives.  

We are all Americans; we all want to do best for our country. We've got different ideas, but for the most part, we have the same aims, which is to make sure that people who work hard in this country and who act responsibly are able to get good jobs, good wages, raise their families, make sure those kids have a good education; that they are protected from misfortune or accident by having health care and retirement security in place; want to keep people safe─and that's why our national security team is so important.

Our goals are generally the same, whether we're Democrats or Republicans, and in fact, most Americans don't even think about those labels all that much. They are turned off when they see people using wild accusations, false claims, name-calling, sharply ideological approaches to solve problems.  They want pragmatism; they want people to stay focused on the job. And I hope that some of the fever breaks a little bit.

The media can always be helpful by not giving all the attention to the loudest or shrillest voices, and try to stay a little bit more focused on the issues at hand.

Q: Will you talk with him if he decides to call you?

THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, I talk to everybody.

Join the Discussion