‘You Lie,’ GOP Lawmaker Shouts During President’s Speech
Partisan tensions at President Obama's address to Congress on Wednesday "went beyond the usual theatrics," with one Republican congressman shouting, "You lie," in the midst of the speech when the president promised his reform proposal would not pay for insurance for illegal immigrants, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The congressman, Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., released the sharpest outburst, but it was hardly the only ripple on the minority party's side of the aisle. When Obama said details of the plan still needed to be "ironed out," Republicans laughed audibly, and when he offered to consider his opponents' ideas, many GOP lawmakers waved copies of their own proposal over their heads (Bendavid, 9/10).
Leaders in both parties said Wilson's comment was inappropriate and that he should apologize, The Hill reports. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said it was "totally disrespectful" and Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., called it "embarrassing." Shortly after the speech, Wilson issued a statement saying, "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" (Hopper, 9/9).
"The national debate, already raw for years, had coarsened over the summer as town hall meetings across the country dissolved into protests about "death panels" and granny-killing," writes Dana Milbank, the Washington Post's "Washington Sketch" columnist. "But even by that standard, there was something appalling about the display on the House floor for what was supposed to be a sacred ritual of American democracy" (Milbank, 9/10).