Tonight during his joint address to Congress, President Obama attempted to set the record straight on some of the “key controversies” surrounding the health care debate. While it’s normal for members of the opposition party to occasionally not clap at statements with which they disagree, congressional Republicans went further tonight, being outright rude at times.
At one point, President Obama addressed the myth that his health care proposals would insure undocumented immigrants: “This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”
In response, Republicans not only began booing him, but Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted out, “LIE!” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) shot an angry look in his direction, and Vice President Biden shook his head. The rudeness shocked even veteran political observers such as NBC’s Chuck Todd, who wrote on Twitter, “Wow. What’s next a duel?” MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough also wrote, “Whoever shouted out that the president was lying is a dumbass who should show the President respect.” On MSNBC after the speech, Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman said, “The Republicans were mostly stage props in this speech tonight and they behaved like it.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) could also be seen
wearing holding a homemade sign — similar to the ones seen at town hall protests — around his neck, which read, “What bill?” Watch it:
Various Republican lawmakers were also holding up draft GOP bills during the speech:
Still, given all the misinformation that’s been spread over the past few months, I realize that many Americans have grown nervous about reform. So tonight I’d like to address some of the key controversies that are still out there.
Some of people’s concerns have grown out of bogus claims spread by those whose only agenda is to kill reform at any cost. The best example is the claim, made not just by radio and cable talk show hosts, but prominent politicians, that we plan to set up panels of bureaucrats with the power to kill off senior citizens. Such a charge would be laughable if it weren’t so cynical and irresponsible. It is a lie, plain and simple.
There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally. And one more misunderstanding I want to clear up – under our plan, no federal dollars will be used to fund abortions, and federal conscience laws will remain in place.
My health care proposal has also been attacked by some who oppose reform as a “government takeover” of the entire health care system. As proof, critics point to a provision in our plan that allows the uninsured and small businesses to choose a publicly-sponsored insurance option, administered by the government just like Medicaid or Medicare.
Republicans are now coming out and condemning their colleague. On CNN, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that Wilson’s outburst was “totally disrespectful”: “He should apologize immediately.” Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) said, “I thought that was unfortunate. [Obama's] the president. He deserves more respect than that.”
,CNN has posted a picture of Wilson’s heckling:
,On Fox Business News, Karl Rove and host Neil Cavuto thought Wilson shouting at the President was hilarious. “Joe Wilson, good guy,” said Rove. “Lovely,” agreed Cavuto.
“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”
,After Obama’s speech, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel reportedly “approached two Republican House leaders, Roy Blunt and Paul Ryan and said, ‘No president has ever had that happen,’ and urged them to have the lawmaker ‘apologize immediately.’”