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September 11th, 2009
08:52 AM ET

Wilson: 'You lie' remark spontaneous

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The GOP congressman from South Carolina who shouted out during President Obama's health care address to Congress insisted Thursday that his outburst was "spontaneous."

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Rep. Joe Wilson shouts, "You lie!" after President Obama denies the health plan would cover illegal immigrants."]

Rep. Joe Wilson shocked many observers Wednesday night when he shouted, "You lie!" after the president denied that health care legislation would provide free coverage for illegal immigrants.

Some people using Twitter suggested that Wilson's retort was planned and pointed to a comment the lawmaker posted on Labor Day:

"Happy Labor Day! Wonderful parade at Chapin, many people called out to oppose Obamacare which I assured them would be relayed tomorrow to DC," the tweet from Wilson's account said.

However, on the way to his office Thursday morning, Wilson said his outburst wasn't planned.

"It was spontaneous. It was when he stated, as he did, about not covering illegal aliens, when I knew we had those two amendments, and I say that respectfully," Wilson said.

He was referring to two amendments on one version of proposed health care legislation, which he said would have provided for verification of citizenship. Both of the amendments were defeated, he said.

Read the full story »

Filed under: Controversy • Politics
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. jim vicalvi

    Hey,mike-sey. What's a flip-flip? Is it something to do with blogjoyavich's hair or maybe something that your dem. politicians do when they slide the lobbyists money into their pockets.

    September 14, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  2. Dirk Peddler

    I don't think he needs to apologize again, he did and Obama accepted it, that should be the end of it. I think Congress and the Senate have more important things to worry about. Maybe they can invite Obama and Wilson out on the lawn outside of congress for a beer.

    September 14, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  3. mike-sey

    Beware of GOP partisans wearing flip flps, sandals or army boots with loose shoe laces.

    September 14, 2009 at 7:38 am |
  4. Another Canadian Perspective


    Mr. Wilson's two-word shout "You Lie!" is not about free speech – it's about a total lack of respect, to the Office of the President (if not the man)... a disrespect to the rules of the Chamber... and disrespect to the view of the nation by the world.

    President Obama is scheduled to speak soon to the United Nations. When the President is marginalized and negated by such an affront, (along with the recent anti-Obama hysteria) how can American continue to be respected world-wide?

    So sad!!!!

    September 14, 2009 at 7:27 am |
  5. Bob

    Joe Wilson is right – there is no proof of legal presence test in HR 3200 that would disqualify illegal immigrants from receiving taxpayer-funded healthcare. In this instance the Pres. didn't know what he was talking about. I believe that if the Pres. lies to us, regardless of the reason, someone should bring it to our attention regardless of the "setting." I do not believe Joe Wilson should apologize to anyone for telling the truth.

    September 13, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  6. Mark

    Hooray for President Obama, the bigger man of the two by not steping down to his level.

    September 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  7. jay m

    Republicans are showing their true colors now.

    September 13, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  8. jim vicalvi

    We have a white politician calling a black/white politician politician a liar. A lot of people out there have gone into a feeding frenzy because of this. I back Joe Wilson 100% and don't apologize to anyone.A prominent black athlete did something yesterday and it will be interesting to see how the liberal media presents it. Serena Williams threatened to kill a referee by shoving her racket down her throat. Because of a foot fault!!! While Williams may not be as "important" as obummer it is the difference of a person threatening to kill someone and another calling a person a liar. The difference? One of the persons was black. Guess which incident is going to get more coverage? Like jessee jackson having a mistress AND an illegitimate kid while Gov. Sanford had a mistress. How long did the media cover jackson. Not long!!! He's still a favorite of the press. Go figure.

    September 13, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  9. Keith

    Is this the true color of America? the hate that we see going on with this president?!

    September 12, 2009 at 3:30 pm |
  10. jim vicalvi

    I have some new nominations for the wingnut award. Paul M., Bruce H., Nancy W., Fran, Sharrann G., Jay M, Nancy, Jen R., Daisy and Mark. I am tired of people like this telling me that I have to have respect for a person just because of his title or name. Bulloney!! I call him obummer and I do that because I can. I am an American. And, from the way his poll numbers are plummeting I would say that I am not the only one.

    September 12, 2009 at 3:02 pm |
  11. taisha

    He is true south racist and that is what it boils down to.

    September 12, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  12. MSladyJS

    The President is Commander & Chief of the Unites States. The Position itself DICTATES and DEMANDS RESPECT. No matter the skin color of the person who holds the office. To call the president a LIAR is DISRESPECTFUL! On top of calling him a LIar he shouts/yells it out while our President is speaking. Excuse me did he forget where he was. This is a joint session of Congress not a Bar or stadium. Unacceptable! Completely and Totally DISRESPECTFUL! This is not about freedom of speech! Its about being Respectful to OUR PRESIDENT who holds the highest office in the Land! Whether you disagree with the president or not. He deserves to be Respected! Wilson's behavior warrant discplinary actions. If I am disrespectful to my boss I am going to be called in on the carpet for doing so. The same should happen to WIlson. Obama was ELECTED as President of the United States! He needs to be treated with the same RESPECT! Dignity! as the Previous Presidents before him.
    It sickens me to see that the color of a person's skin in this day and age still does make a difference on how he is treated. Obama is our President and it is time we start treating him with the Respect that the Powerful Position Holds.

    September 12, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  13. Ken

    Why then are they trying to change the wording in some of the Bills after this happened ? 2 As of now I was told instead of using the word illegal they went to undocumented and the have Medicaid! 3. I would really like to know with Medicaid and Medicare, Social Security and US postal( I know it was sold of to a private company but maybe it was making money that's why the Government sold it?????) How can the Federal Government Stand up and say with a straight face they can run a HEALTHCARE PROGRAM!!!! I would really like an answer!!!!! Heck the Government can't even fix their own budget.

    September 12, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  14. ronvan

    It is hard for anyone to understand why the republican party is in such a mess? Everyone of them need to be acting like they are walking on glass, yet they cannot control themselves. Don't get me wrong, I am sure the dems. have their share, but repubs. are in the crosshairs of everybody. It is disgusting to hear of our "elected officials" living the good life, putting money in their pockets from lobbyists, and lying out of the sides of their mouths that THEY are looking out for our best interests! WHY do we continue to support them? WHY do we have to have lobbyists? It is because of the $$$$, always has been and will be, until WE THE PEOPLE, finally get fed up and throw these "bad apples" out of office.

    September 12, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  15. Frederick

    Rep. Wilson should be ashame of him self it is all about prejudice.noting to do with health care.

    September 12, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  16. Mark

    I am finished with the Republicans, I am planning to never vote for another one again.
    The Republican don't see health insurance as a matter of fairness, those who can't get insurance somewhere, need something. The private insurance companies don't want to provide it to people who are sick. We need some place to get insurance. If you are a single payer and have anything that requires a payout of health insurance you can just forget it. I hope what the insurance companies are paying these Republicans is really worth it.

    September 11, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  17. Daisy

    Joe Wilson apologized to the Pres. now he also needs to apologize to Congress and the American people. I can not believe anyone can say what he did was right. I am for free speech to but in the setting of such a speech was NOT the place. He makes this country look soooo bad around the world. I am ashamed he makes me sick to my stomach!!!

    September 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  18. Jen Renzaglia

    Joe Wilson demonstrated a lack of class and severe emotional immaturity with his "you lie" outburst to our president. This should be a lesson on how "not to act." He does not represent the majority of people in our great nation - that's what we really need to take away from this disgusting incident.

    September 11, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  19. nancy

    There's a time and a place for civilized people to talk something out. "Wrongway" Wilson showed no respect and I hope he gets sanctioned somehow. He's no "hero", he's a doof.

    September 11, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  20. jay m

    Joe Wilson is just like townhallers, he wants the attention on him and not on health reform. I see his distraction worked.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  21. Sharann Garmone

    SHAME ON HIM.......Is civility dead? .Could you please find out who donates to his campaign. I do not believe this was just an emotional outburst. If it was......he clearly is too emotional to make good solid decisions It does,however, fit the profile of outrage that Republican party is trying to raise in the American public about health care reform......Could it have been planned to take the presidents' message off the radar. JUST ASKING

    September 11, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  22. Fran

    Rodney, you freedom of speech peope always use thaT TO GET A BAD POINT ACROSS. Yes we have freedom of speech where it is appropriate. The next time a person calls you a lie lets see how you feel.

    September 11, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  23. nancy warren

    joe wilson was very disrespectfull to our president and he should be sanction, if he gets away with this more will follow.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  24. Bruce Hoff

    I don't believe his disrespectful outburst was planned. I think he has shown his true lack of morals, respect and standards that a person in his position should have.
    Politicians should be held to a much higher standard as they are representing the people who elected them. The disgrace he created reflects back on the people of his home state.
    Rep. Wilson has insulted the most highly respected, powerful office in the world and by so doing has brought shame on our entire nation. In a different time he would have been equally shamed and driven out of town. We are a bit more civilized now, but he needs to be removed from any representation of anybody. Let him bring disrespect on himself and not people who put their faith in him to properly represent in their best interest.
    Rep. Wilson needs to go on a long hike with Gov. Sanford and come back when they can behave like the people they represented themselves to have been. Neither can be trusted to properly represent the best interest of the public, when they have no respect for proper morals.
    The public needs to clean house of any elected official that can't be held to a higher standard.

    September 11, 2009 at 11:03 am |
  25. Paul Mysza

    I believe in free speech also, but it is very wrong to disrespect the POTUS. After reading the proposed bill, Wilson would have seen that the President did not lie. Freedom of speech is great, as long as one tells the truth. To make up things just to get your way, is not, and should not be acceptible. too bad more people do not do their research before they spout off abunch of lies.

    September 11, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  26. Rodney J. Leger

    What happened to freedom of speech? Can anybody speak without being put down? I respect Rep. Wilson for speaking up for what he thinks is right. We need more people like that.

    September 11, 2009 at 9:51 am |