Wilson Says He Won't Make New Apologies

By New York Times, New York Times - September 14, 2009

Representative Joe Wilson said Sunday that he would not apologize again for his outburst on Wednesday night, when he shouted “You lie!” to President Obama during Mr. Obama’s speech to Congress about health care legislation.

Representative Joe Wilson brushed off a possible reprimand as “playing politics.”

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Mr. Wilson, a South Carolina Republican who has been catapulted onto the national stage in the past few days, faces a possible reprimand and public rebuke on the House floor this week.

Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” asked Mr. Wilson whether he would issue another apology when he is confronted with the criticisms from his colleagues on the House floor.

“I am not going to apologize again,” Mr. Wilson said. “I apologized to the president on Wednesday night. I was advised then that — thank you, now let’s get on to a civil discussion of the issues. But I — I’ve apologized one time. The apology was accepted by the president, by the vice president, who I know. I am not apologizing again.”

His office issued an apology Wednesday, and Mr. Wilson called the White House and reached Rahm Emanuel, the president’s chief of staff, who accepted an apology on behalf of Mr. Obama. And the president said later that he accepted it.

Though Mr. Wilson vowed in the Sunday interview that he would not make such a public utterance again, he seemed emboldened by positive feedback in his district and from conservatives like the ones who marched in Washington on Saturday to protest health care legislation.

Asked about the possible discipline, Mr. Wilson dismissed it pretty much as theater. “My view is, it’s politics,” he said. “This is playing politics. This is exactly what the American people do not want to see, do not want to hear.”

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