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House chastises Rep. Joe Wilson over remark [Updated]

[Updated at 3:14: After spirited debate, the House of Representatives voted 240-179 to admonish Rep. Joe Wilson for his behavior during President Obama's recent address to Congress. Follow this link for a report from the House floor.]

Rep. Joe Wilson, who accused President Obama of being a liar during last week’s televised address to Congress on health policy, returns to the national spotlight today when the Democratic House considers whether the Republican's conduct merits a resolution of disapproval.

Wilson, who told the White House he was sorry for shouting “You lie!” at Obama, has refused to apologize a second time to the House for what most on both sides of the aisle consider at least a breach of manners and what liberals consider much worse. Obama quickly accepted Wilson’s apology last week, noting that everyone makes mistakes and that the South Carolina Republican’s interruption has taken the focus away from the issue of healthcare.

Despite the first apology, the issue won’t go away and why is an interesting example of what politics has become. Conservatives have seized on Wilson as the latest symbol of resistance to administration plans to reform health insurance after a summer of complaints about Obama.

Conservatives, some carrying guns, attended town halls across the nation, complaining of Obama’s healthcare proposals, the growth of government and even such inaccuracies as that Democrats plan to expand healthcare to illegal immigrants and to create death panels.

This morning, Wilson took to the floor and in a short speech noted the town hall meetings were full of “honest patriots” who “want us to work together for health insurance reform but not a government takeover.”

But for liberals and for African American lawmakers, the issue goes much further than rudeness and into the area of race relations. For liberals, Wilson represents the latest face of those who will never be comfortable with Obama, in part because he is the first African American president.

For Majority Whip James Clyburn, an African American and fellow South Carolinian who is pushing the House to act, Wilson’s outburst requires a resolution because of the extraordinary disrespect it showed to Obama. For many Democrats and especially African American leaders, not passing a resolution against Wilson would set a bad precedent.

If the resolution comes to a vote, expect essentially a party-line vote, though it will be intriguing which Democrats decide to back Wilson.

– Michael Muskal

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Wow. Really really scary. The lunatic fringe is kicking the butt of an utterly defeated, easily bullied majority. I cannot believe Obama fired a cabinet member last week for calling Republicans "A----s" and merely signing a petition yet a member of the house calls the president a liar in front of national television and he gets away with issuing a one time bogus apology. I'm really feeling like all is lost here. If EVER there was a time for kicking butt and taking names politically this would be it. The failure and demise of America lies on the shoulders of liberal coward congress people and a self motivated media for not reporting it. I am a liberal voter and consider myself a liberal ideologically.

I think they need to get on with their jobs and stop being so ignorant,the prez has been called worse than that I'd say,and if I ever ran into him I'd have some questions to ask he's lied about,so whats the BIG deal? And that dude that said something about him being black and it was racist,why in this world can't the blacks shut their mouths about racist,they are the very ones who are racist or they would keep their mouths shut,but they wouldn't have anything to complain about. Why can't people live in peace,they have and get everything they cry for what else do they want,blood,yellp!

"Conservatives, some carrying guns, attended town halls across the nation, complaining of Obama’s healthcare proposals, the growth of government and even such inaccuracies as that Democrats plan to expand healthcare to illegal immigrants and to create death panels."


Those are lies, pure and simple. Outrageous, absurd, and thoroughly despicable lies.

Let's be real, here.

Well, Wilson should congratulate himself: as a human being he is rude (I have taught college Philosophy and NEVER has anyone said any such thing to me in fifty-five years of College and University instruction; as a Republican he has succeeded in being divisive, as the Republicans have been and continue to be; as a politician, he has shown how disrespectful, today's Republicans have denigrated themselves from their political elected position to street level brawling - but when the Republicans are bankrupt of ideas and used to tunnel thinking, one wonders why Republicans are so "good."

May Republicans feel the weight of such bankruptcy in the 2010 elections!

Dr. Robert Buckenmeyer

This is politics as usual. The President and the House knows that the any Health Care Bill will include illegal aliens. California passed a law that specifically excluded illegal aliens. The California Supreme Court disallowed it as unconstitutional, and the US Supreme Court refused to review the case. The end result was that illegal aliens were given care paid for by the State of California. The President said the Health Care Bill would NOT include illegal aliens, but will that be declared unconstitutional as it happened in California? If so, there was no LIE.

Wilson's we know is a racist; but,essentially, his ignorance & unprecedented disrespect to the President of the United States demonstrates that Republican sentimentality is so obsolete that even decorum means nothing! He has no place in politics if can't respect very general & basic, much less sacred rules of government. What an idiot for the world to see. Sumner is rolling in his grave.

Ah, the irony...the hypocrasy. Bush IS a liar and no one ever called him to task. Obama seems to have been forthright thus far, and well...

Why penalize Joe Wilson for shouting out the truth. Truth hurts sometimes and besides, Obama has done his share of calling others liars. Liberals literally danced in the streets when that jerk "journalist" threw his shoes at President Bush.
The hypocrisy of liberals is truly astounding.

It is just amazing to me the legths that Republicans will go to - lying, cheating, stealing and cheating all in th e name on getting their power back. regardless of what this does to the country and its people. They are the party of big business and the only ones they are protecting are th big insurance companies and buif pharmaceutical companies, notthe little guys who are stupid and uninformed enought o believe all their lies. how can anyone in their right mind, after having been told over an dover again that ther eis no such thing as death panels this believe that crap. And as for insuring undocumented aliens, it has been made clear over an dover again that this won;t happen. But that's really not what this is about. Its about the birthers, who believe an African American cannot be a "true Amaerican" (I guess you cant be unless you have your white sheets), and that what this is all about is defeating anything this president is trying to pass in order to get control back for the do nothing Republican/fascist party.

Mr. Wilson offended everyone in the room when he disrespected the President. As a military man, he knows he has to respect the rank if nor the man. Also he broke the law. Although he sent an apology to the President, he never apologized to the members of Congress. If he is not publicly sanctioned, others will do worse things after a precedent is set.

Carrying guns to town hall meetings? What is that about?

P.S. I forgot to mention. Check out the article re the Caliornia State Republicans and how they are holding the state hosptage on importan legislation such as domestic violence shelters and preparing for the swine flu epidemic so they can prevent the poor of this state to get assistance with filing their tax returns. More proof of what I said before - they are the party of the rich and big business, not of the little guy!

I'm a liberal, sometimes libertarian, occasionally a conservative. Depends on the issue.

As for the "You lie!" incident, I feel - Apology made and accepted. Can we get on with business now?

Where the heck did the race thing come from? I'm very frustrated by this article. It starts off fine albeit a little slanted, but then just goes crazy racist at the end.

"For liberals, Wilson represents the just the latest face of those who will never be comfortable with Obama, in part because he is the first African American president."

This is pure speculation. What evidence do you have that Joe Wilson doesn't like Obama because he's black?



2007 45.7 Million Un-Insured Breakdown
Illegal Immigrants = 9.3 million
Medicad Undercount = 6.4 million
Medicaid/SCHIP Eligible = 4.3 million
Childless Adults = 5.0 million
Over 300% of Poverty = 10.1 million
Remaining Uninsured = 10.6 million

Medicad Undercount – People who are on one of two government health insurance programs, Medicaid or S-CHIP, but mistakenly (intentionally or not) tell the Census taker that they are uninsured.

Medicaid/SCHIP Eligible – Eligible for free or heavily subsidized government health insurance (again, either Medcaid or SCHIP), but have not signed up.

Childless Adults – Adults between ages 18 and 34 and without kids.

Over 300% of Poverty – Do not fit into any of the above categories, and they have incomes more than 3X the poverty level.

Remaining Uninsured – U.S. citizens, with income below 300% of poverty, not on or eligible for a taxpayer-subsidized health insurance program, and not a childless adult between age 18 and 34.


Joe Wilson, like all members of Congress, had been given an advance copy of the speech. He knew what President Obama was going to say and when he was going to say it. He waited for his moment, he waited for the din to die down, and then "lost control" at precisely the moment he'd planned. He's the liar, plain and simple. He lied about what he did, he lied about what he knew, and he lied about H.R. 3200.

Liars can do whatever they want, Liars who are members of Congress need to be censured when they violate the rules of order to lie at the top of their lungs to make political hay.

Your husband, joe wilson, deserves everything that will come down the pipe to him, as time goes by. We AMERICAN'S have had enough! The joe wilson's of this country, with an estimated IQ of under 100 need to zip up their collective mouths and quietly fade into whatever sunset purgatory might provide.

Joe said the right thing at the right time in the right place to the right people.Notice how many times the word right comes up?He didn't accuse Obama of being a lier,he told him.Some people just don't"get it"til'you tell them.What's really sad is that Obama is surrounded by people that are afraid or too dumb to help him "get it".

Rep Wilson already apologized for his remark and the President accepted it, so lets stop the liberal whining and move on to more important issues going on in this country.

And where were the democrats protests about civility, when they boo'd Bush when he spoke to Congress in his last two years (with the Democrats having a majority in the house. I guess Pelosi only has a "problem" when the rudeness is aimed at them, not when they are the source.

YOU stand strong Congressman Wilson, you did what we all have been wanting to do. He is a liAr!!!! He has lied about everything including being an American Citizen. HE IS A LIAR!!!!! Good for you, stay strong.GOD BLESS YOU!

My head is swimming. "Logic" is apparently under attack. Maybe its the swine flu. Apparently, when one is called a liar it is now evidence of "racism". Only in someone's twisted world could that be true.

To begin with the article is biased. As proof, when speaking of conservatives why else mention "some carrying guns" without explaining it was a measured response by less than six persons to the thuggery and goon squads sent out to earlier Tea Parties and Town Halls by the SEIU? And that once a few "armed" citizens began to attend the bullying tactics of public employee, who were also union members, tapered off? Proving once more that, "an armed society is a polite society".

The two adults in the story, Obama and Wilson, have apparetnly "kissed and made up". For the children involved, however, that's not enough. There obviously needs to be more made of this "crisis". Never mind that for several years and on numerous occasions Democrat after Democrat accused the previous white house occupant of lying. Because now that a person of color occupies the building it is a much more serious crime, and it is against a victim or victims unable to properly speak for themselves. Thus "others" must do it for them.

Since the incident if Obama hadn't subsequently acknowledged that as currently written the bill WOULD have covered illegals - thus making Wilson's utterance the truth - this would be silly. But as we've learned over the years, when faced with actions by the thought police, the truth is no longer relevant.

I'm baffled by the fact that no one seems to have pointed out that at no time, in the 8 years that Bush spoke to congress this never happened. Not once. He lied. CONSTANTLY. Even many Republicans would admit this openly. His lies cost thousands of lives, are in many ways responsible for our current economic situation, and destroyed America's reputation abroad. They didn't just lead to the possibility of higher taxes on wealthier Americans. The truth is, ALL politicians lie. On both sides. It's the only way they stay in office. But no matter their personal opinion, members of congress should respect the office, even if they don't respect the man. Obama, unlike Bush, was actually elected by a substantial majority of Americans, and should be treated like the president during public appearances. I believe in freedom of speech. If Mr. Wilson wished to address inconsistencies in the speech, he should have brought them to the attention of senior congressional republicans to be included in a Republican rebuttal, not screamed from the house floor.

To jrn1

Regardless of your take on the calling the president a liar (something done thousands of times to Bush, by liberals), the firing of Van Jones, was NOT due to his calling Republican's assholes, afterall, that's pretty much the standard line of liberal/progressives. Not a chance in the world, that he would have been asked to resign over that!

He was fired, because the admin doesn't want the heat (and he resigned, btw, not fired), and because it's embarrassing to the admin, that he is, or at least was until recently, a member of the communist party. (That sort of goes against Obama's laughing off accusations of being a socialist.)

But, ultimately, what got him fried, was his vocal position that he wanted an investigation, believing that Bush and friends actually engineered the 9/11 attacks (or at least knew about them, and allowed them to happen).

One more thing, Van Jones is not a Cabinet member. He is one of some 40 Obama appointed Czar types, all of whom are not Cabinet members, and are therefore not required to be approved by Congress.

All the power being given to these Czars, is perhaps one of the greatest usurpations of power by the current administration. While most recent presidents have appointed Czars, I believe, based on what I have read, that Obama's white house, has appointed more czars than all previous presidents combined.

These are people of power in the administration, not answerable to congress, unlike cabinet members. -art

President Obama is a liar. People called President Bush a terrorist. Pelosi and the demos should put the spotlight on ACORN. They are the ones to investigate with their voter fraud and criminal activity. Acorn has close ties to Obama, are using tax payers money to aid crime, illegals and cheat the IRS. Obama still has not been vetted, who is he, where did he come from so quickly?

This is for Barbara Wilson

There are no such people as "The Blacks" do you think all people from different backgrounds, fields and who live in different parts of the world think with one mind?
It is also not up to anyone to tell someone to keep their mouths shut. Have you read the Bill of Rights?

You are not very well educated ( and I do not mean school educated )

It is people like you who tend to make people so angry they want to indeed shout!

The Republicans have become the party of mob rule. They stopped the Florida recount with it in 2000 and they are using it to stop the majority of the Congress and of the American people from getting what they need and want.

For historical parallels, look at the Nazis: a very conservative party (violently anti-Communist) who were never a majority in Germany but who used mob violence and relentless hamstringing of democratic government to seize power.

Just a couple thoughts - to other comments

To Jack Anderson:
Seriously, you want to censure every member of congress when they lie? Lying is their stock in trade. There might be 3 or 4 who don't, but hey, we like voting for liars, be they senators, congressmen, or presidents (pick one, any one - Clinton, Bush, Obama, Reagan, Carter...

And unless they really screw up, we elect our favorite liars - again, and again, and again, as long as they are telling the lies we like.

As to planning his outburst based on pre-reading the speech? Come on, this is Congress, these guys raise taxes 10s of billions of dollars at a time (or 100's) without even reading the bills they are voting for (both sides).

You could give him the benefit of the doubt, that he just got really pissed off, or not. Does it really matter? He was only slightly ruder than when the bulk of the House democrats booed Bush when he addressed them. Where was the censure there (oh yeah, Pelosi was in charge, booing the president was their right, and probably their moral obligation, from her standpoint).

to DR Peter Evans, Well, I guess the moderators are pretty lax. I don't really know much about Joe wilson until recently, but, like our current and last president, he's a lawyer from a very good law school, in this case U SC (that's South Carolina - which may not be as prestigious as Yale, which brought us Obama and Bush). Without pre-judging anyone, idiots and slanderers come in all political tastes, some are regular folks, some are lawyers/politicians, some are doctors (medical) and others, just have a degree because they hated leaving school, and having to deal with the real world.

Finally, to Robert B. Well, you are a democrat, so those of us who are either republican's or independents don't expect much... (I'm independent - hey I vote for Feinstein). Believing in capitalism, and supporting with legislation, is no different than supporting socialistic programs. We can all argue which is the best solution, but, a healthy number of american's seem to think that smaller (not, NO) government, is better than a government that eats up say, 30% to 40+% (if you count state and local govs) of our GDP. It's got to stop. There are plenty of republican proposals on healthcare reform have been for years, including tort reform, reform of defensive medicine (requires tort reform), and a host of others. True, you won't learn about any, reading the LA Times, or watching MSNBC, but they are out there. Personally, while a social moderate, I'm very conservative when it comes to government, probably because I've owned my own small companies for much of my life, and the government just makes my, and almost every other small businessman's life a living hell, while abusing us, and taking large chunks of money that we make, and give it to armchair liberals, on the government dole, as university professors, and other tenured positions, that have little requirement for quality or talent. But, such is life. I applaud all those in politics that try to minimize the effect of stupid government policies, regardless of which side of the isle. Get out of the way, and let the self employed small business people save the country from another administration, and another recession. We always do, though the government makes it harder each time. -art

So it was OK for numerous Democrats to vocally disrespect President Bush in his addresses to Congress? I guess if it's a Gang it's fine?
Actually, I'm disgusted with whole bunch.
Vote Everyone of Them Out.
Bill Price


1. Obama used 30 million uninsured in his speech, down from 47 million usually touted...which makes up for the Illegals present in the U.S.

2. Following the speech, the White House acknowledged that some preventative mechanism would be needed to enforce the "no-illegals" claim.

3. Racism is a sociopolitical device used by the intellectually weak to bully stronger opponents.

4. Liberalism is a mental disorder.

Mr. Wilson apologized and the President accepted. It was not the proper place to make such a comment, but what happened to freedom of speech.

Is this the beginning of censorship, where free Americans can't speak their minds or concerns even if it is against the President and his issues.

I am still waiting to find out the true answer about President Obama's birth certificate and whether he is a natural born citizen.

I know, I know, I have read everything that is out there but all the articles dance around the issue without answering the actual truth. Produce President Obama or get out of the White House.

But I'm sending it again anyway!
It is a sad day when our congress has nothing better to do “such as Obamacare” than to slam Congressman Joe Wilson for expressing his opinion. Obama is not just a liar, he is a Habitual-Liar who would not know the meaning of truth if it hit him between the eyes. As he attempts to destroy our country, he deserves no apologies! Congress should be working on impeachment proceedings to kick him to the curb. Instead, their agenda is to help him continue to deceive the many US Citizens that he has already hoodwinked & divert attention from the Obamacare BS! Obama has appointed and surrounded himself with thugs that should be questioned as to their intent of possible US terrorism when he should not be allowed to share anything with them until approved by congress. If congress would take the time to read the constitution & other bills that have been passed since the First Continental Congress was assembled, they might just find Obama is not only practicing unprecedented acts, but breaking the law. I don’t know why that surprises me in the least since most don’t read the new proposals they vote into law leaving me to believe some cannot even read! In addition to surrounding himself with the likes of Jones, he associates himself with the corrupt organizations like Acorn of which Obama was previously employed. This might explain why he conducts his administration much as those organizations do, bowing to kings/leaders of other lands as he apologizes for our past “Misdeeds” as we feed & protect their very lives.

Joe was out of line and should have waited to make his remark, but Joe told the truth. In fact we all said lie to Obama at the same time. The left will loose this fight because now Joe has the PR that he needed now. Let see how much money Joe receives now from all his new friends.

In law the truth is an absolut defence.

Much like "The Jackass Formerly Known as Kanye West", there are persons who believe that they are the one true visionary in the world and their opinion is the only that matters. They are not that distant to extremists, radicals, anarchists, assassins, and psychotics. These are the true twits of the world. Alone they are dangerous enough, but when they are elected to high government offices, there is major cause for concern. Watch out for Joe Bonehead Wilson.

I find it egregious to chastise Rep. Joseph Wilson for confronting yet another habitual Obama lie as this narcissistic personality disorder purposefully misrepresents to the national public and the world at large what he is not. If Joseph Wilson's behavior for publically pointing out that a Lie is a Lie is a Lie, then why has it become politically ethical not to arrest Charlie Rangle for tax fraud and his cohorts?

"You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." Matthew 7:5

I read a lot of ignorance here and most of it from so-called educated individuals. Doctors and teachers and probably lawyers and lobbyists too. Get a pdf of HR3200IH and read it yourself. But be warned, you don't need 2 lawyers to interpret, you need a stupidity translator. I have even read a few times where it changes dates from 1992 to 2010. IF Joe Wilson was just making noise then why is house drafting an addendum to make sure citizenship is established? If there is no "death panels" then why is Senate taking it out of theirs bill? Joe Wilson should have said "your ignorant" as may be the case if president has not read it just saying what he was told. I have been a democrat all my life but not anymore , Liberals(read: Communists) have taken over that party and us southern dems are not with that program to kill America. Remember that voicing opinions against the bill is against congress not prez as they are writing it, not him.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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