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September 15th, 2009
09:21 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Punishment for "You Lie" Outburst?

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, shouts 'You lie!' during President Obama's speech Wednesday night.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-South Carolina, shouts 'You lie!' during President Obama's speech Wednesday night.

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

With all Pres. Obama speaking about the economy today and people all over country worried about an economic rebound and the fate of health care, did you see what the House of Representatives was doing today?

It passed a resolution of disapproval against Republican Congressman Joe Wilson for shouting "You lie!" during Pres. Obama's speech to Congress last week. The vote was 240 to 179, with seven Republicans voting for the resolution and twelve Democrats voting "no". Five other Democrats voted simply "present" – taking no side.

What do you think: Is this all a waste of time? Should lawmakers be focused on more important things? Or did Rep. Wilson deserve the political scolding? Sound off below.

Joe Johns went to Capitol Hill to dig deeper on the Wilson rebuke. He discovered the South Carolina congressman wasn't hiding in his office. Don't miss his "Keeping them Honest" report tonight.

We also launch our series "Medical Malpractice: Who wins, Who Loses, Who Pays?" tonight. We uncovered this startling fact from the Institute of Medicine: Medical error kill at least 44,000 American each year. That makes medical mistakes deadlier than breast cancer, AIDS or motor vehicle accident. Of course, doctors aren't the only ones making mistakes – but when they happen what should be done? Last week, Pres. Obama in his speech to Congress called for a new look at how medical malpractice is handled to possibly lower health care costs. Doctors like that. Lawyers, not so much.

Plus, a former speechwriter for Pres. George W. Bush is speaking out – giving Bush 43's opinions of Barack Obama and Sarah Palin.

Join us for these stories and more starting at 10pm ET. See you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Zelma

    I think the apology was a start and a given. Since this is the first, let be the last as well. If its taken lightly then who knows maybe next time one of them will decide to throw their shoe at the President of the United States. Unacceptable behavior no matter ones opinion of the President.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  2. Terry Kilgore

    Joe Wilson was one of seven South Carolina state legislators who voted against removing the rebel flag from the state Capitol Dome. That fact gives me pause when I attempt to determine the motivation for his action on the floor of Congress.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  3. Darlene Smith

    being from South

    Being from South Carolina please let people know we are not all racists and do have a brain.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  4. David Taylor

    This is not appropriate for this venue what happened to professionalism?

    September 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  5. Tim Myers

    Yes what the Rep. did was wrong. But, isn't that what is so great about the U.S. we can voice opinions like this no matter how wrong they may seem?

    September 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  6. Kevin from Wisconsin

    Rep. Joe Wilson spoke for me the other night. I went to his website and gave him a big contribution, before the big tax increase we will get from Obama hits.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  7. corvedacosta

    I do not see the purpose for dems punishing wilson more. He apologized to Obama who the statement was intended for and Obama was graceful in accepting it. dems are just seeking a topic to gain political points on....such a pity it doesn't advance the country in any way or solve any of the current issue.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  8. ken saenz

    Give me a break!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  9. Carla M. Bruno R.N.

    The majority of Americans voted for this president . They voted for him for his stand on the issues. The right for too long has played on the fears (ie terrorism) of many to try to push their agenda. They are very good at playing on those fears to move foward legislation that hurts the very people who are protesting. People need to wake up. Health Care Reform with a strong public option is a must. These issues of illegal aliens is important but lets not lose sight of the bigger issue. I have not had a patient that has not conplained or had issues with their health care coverge. All americans need to stand united and the Rep. Willsons of the world will stop with their innapropriate behavior.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  10. Peter J Medina

    Of course it is racially motivated. Subconsciously. Why were people not yelling at Bush for lying about those "WMD". And this whole Tea Party Express is all racially motivated. Where were they when huge amounts were spents on the 2 wars, where were they when they passed the 1st TARP! Now President Obama is trying to fix this whole mess that started way before he became elected and now he is to blame. I wish the Gov't had not passed all those emergency measures and had let this economy implode!!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  11. jackie turner

    Our country is in denial about racism. The fact of the matter is many white people won't admit thatthey think they are superior to all of the other races. And, income has nothing to do with this believe. It is scary how we can not even have a sincere conversation about fundmental racism in our society.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  12. Heather

    What Joe Wilson did was a political ploy to distract from the issues at hand and call attention to GOP views. Needs to be consequences for him not following the rules. Not worried about what the Demo's are doing but the racism and misinformation and behavior of the Republicans is disgusting and not responsible. It's find to differ but run for election the next time around don't undermine those of us that elected President Obama..

    September 15, 2009 at 10:33 pm |
  13. TMarie

    Respect the institution of "The President of TheUnited States". After all, the world is watching...............................

    September 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  14. Kevin from Wisconsin

    Wilson apologized, the president accepted. Anything more is just piling on from Liberal Democrats. Has Harry Reid ever apologized for calling President Bush a loser and a Liar? NO he hasn't.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  15. Wilbert

    It is clear there are persons in America who are bent on making Obama's Presidency a nightmare. They are incapable of seeing that
    respect for the President at home means respect for the President abroad. If the President of the United States cannot address school children in his own country how do they expect him to negotiate Arms reduction or nuclear proliferation abroad?

    September 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  16. erick

    Absolutely, this guy just insult the president ; if we don't respect our own president who else in the world will? I know joe wilson won't let nobody talk to him like that. It's wrong and punishable.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  17. Angela

    I say let it go. Giving him more attention is just going to feed the Beast.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  18. king from the bronx

    What happened to respect for authority? How dare someone make a public spectacle of the president in that forum? You can disagree respectfully and tactfully without trying to belittle the leader of OUR country! I teach my children not to call people liars, how dare an elected official do that?

    September 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  19. carol kesling

    @ jay-nyc... well said. and no if it was a white president, he would have said nothing...and he needs to be shown the DOOR !!!!! he is paid to do a job, and this is not in his job classification, "YOU THINK"?????

    September 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm |
  20. Evan Jones

    I think we should thank our congressman's outburst setting a good example for kanye west & Serena Williams behavior.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  21. Cathy Richard

    I'm outraged by Mr. Wilson's comment. What ever happened to having respect for the President of our country? I believe that this kind of behavior should be punished because it sends a message that disrespect will not be tolerated. Mr. Wilson can believe anything he wants to believe, but it is time he learn to control his emotions and show respect where it is due. Congress has disagreed with Presidents in the past but this is the first time that I have ever witnessed this type of public disrespect by a member of Congress. I agree with President Carter that their are strong racial feelings flaring in this country because of the Presidents race. It is sad to hear people make comments that are racially motivated and later try to defend thoae comment. I partially blame the media for not always addressing the President as they should. If I not mistaken his name is President Obama not Mr. Obama. Show respect where respect is due.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:30 pm |
  22. johny republican

    Freedom of Speech. All hale the mighty Obama.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  23. vicki r

    i believe there are more important issues to be reporting ibelieve the rest of the world is having a huge laugh over our ignorance with all the other pressing issues that we need to be focused on

    September 15, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  24. Helen Hahn

    We are supposed to be a civil country. Disrespecting the president is not civil. Joe Wilson needed to be repremanded. We can't teach respect to children when adults behave like Joe.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  25. Silas Signatur

    The democratic message in America hasn't changed. The Obama phenomenon has simply rendered a more compelling, robust version of it–ripe for the times. And although I don't deny there are those that can't accept the face that is bringing the message, what I think is is really occurring here is that the social, economic, and technological fabric of America has evolved; as our population has increased, our composition has diversified, and political attitudes have shifted towards more socially relevant ideas, not out of contrivance, but out of need. Obama is NOT a socialist, he is a pragmatist. Joe Wilson is in a time warp, still romancing old-fashioned, republican cultural values and defunct politics; his outburst is like the last breath of a small animal in the grip of a python, struggling to stay alive, certain death at hand.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  26. Mark A in Nebr

    Why can't we get over this political correctness and call us what we are. We are ALL American's! This business of being politically correct, and calling people African American's, Asian Americans, European Americans, Canadian Americans etc, etc, etc. is a joke. We are all American's, regardless of skin color. The sooner we get over this political correctness, the faster our country will heal. Jimmy Carter was wrong, and he himself played the race card in what he said today.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:28 pm |
  27. Maggy

    If Americans don’t show respect for our President, how do we expect other countries to show respect to our President and us? Joe Wilson was wrong, and should be punished for his actions.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  28. Kathy

    There are Rules of Decorum for the House of Representatives and Joe Wilson broke the rules. It's as simple as that. You break the rules, you pay the price. It's too bad if someone thinks it's a "waste of time" or there are better subjects to spend time on. He. Broke. The. Rules. There are already too many in this country not held accountable for their actions.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  29. Gaynelle Warren

    I am an african american woman who lives in the midwest Davenport, Ia to be exact. I think many of the uncolorful comments, ect are definately a sign of racisn. But of course this country has always been in denial that it has ever existed. One thing I do know is that I have lived fifty-six years and I have traveled many places and I have experienced racism in many forms i can only imagine what Mr. President has endured this short time he has been in the white house. For all the of those who are bigots you would look better by just saying that you hate anyone who isn;t white instead of hiding behind the crap that people can feel any way they want and you can't do anything about it. I would respect you more if you just said I don't like anyone who isn't like me. As for the woman who called the first lady trash, you are really the trash for not having any respect for the next individual, but what can I say, bigots has no respect for anyone nor themselves.

    Gaynelle/davenport, ia

    September 15, 2009 at 10:27 pm |
  30. Maggy

    If Americans don't show respect for our President, how do we expect other countries our President and us? Joe Wilson was wrong, and should be punished for his actions.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  31. Gbenga

    This whole issue of opposition to Obama stinks and it is a shame on America and also a show that America is no different from the apartheid govt of South Africa which it opposed. From the comments that made him give the race speech in the campaign to the "you lie" statement by Joe Wilson, we see a trend of disrespect, hatred and evil being perpetrated in this country. When Bush (II) was busy taking this country down the drain, nobody disgraced him this way. Shame on you Americans and I am ashamed that you guys are the leaders of the world. This is not a good example. Repent

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  32. Tonya

    I truly believe that this is racisim! This is The President of The United States. He deserves our upmost respect and especially from the House of Democrats and Repulicians. Joe Wilson was totally out of order and purposely set out to ruin The President's speech. Security should have taken him out immediately. Racism still exist more now than ever.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  33. Amanda Troglen

    Okay. Im 16 and even I know the outburst made by Joe Wilson was uncalled for and inappropriate. If this comment was made towards a WHITE male every single person would find this comment disgraceful but since it was made towards a BLACK male, who is in the highest ranking office in our country, no one cares because of racist feelings. If an employee made an outburst towards their boss they would be punished or fired. WHY SHOULDN'T HE? How is he any different? What makes him so special? Is it because he is a white male trying to take over a black male? Is our country seriously back to that ignorance? Really America think shall we...

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  34. Joe

    You can't yell FIRE in a theater when there is no fire, can you? Yes you can but there will be consequences for it. The Rep. should have been more mature and went about his opinion more tactful. For crying out loud he broke the house rules. Yes he should get punish to some degree.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  35. dennis

    First let's take race out of it. Bush was booed and republicans are frustrated of hearing they are not contributing to the health care reform discussion when they have tried and are being ignored.with that said what wilson did was inappropriate. But again we the people are having to put up with these antics from both sides.This is not about the people its about the politicians. I'm tired of it. Let's elect some people that will work for the things we feel are important. And let's push for 12 year term limits!!!!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:26 pm |
  36. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Bottom line: Congress has rules! Rules! Just like we have in most of our country's institutions, from hospitals to courts to schools, and even at home.

    Rep. Wilson brought embarrassment to the joint meeting of Congress not only throughout our country but around the world.

    It is the responsibility for ALL congressional members to censor Rep. Wilson. If they don't, this keeps an ugly door open for this sort of thing to happen on the floor of Congress again and again. (This ain't England, folks).

    A representative is fairly low on the congressional totem pole, and it is my hope that Rep. Wilson will fade into the wallpaper of life. I sent my $10 to his opponent.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  37. Don Schara

    I'm white and not racist, however no matter what race the president would be, not all people would be happy. But I'm not happy with the decision that have been made with the bailouts, and the way this president is spending taxpayers money. The people that caused this mess are all benefiting and laughing at us all the way back to the bank. President obama is way to soft on these issues and is not listening to the people, the taxpayers.
    And I'm sick and tired of this bickering going on from our representatives, democrat and republican, It's childish, and we need to start getting this country back on track. I voted for Obama, and sometimes I wonder why.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  38. Paul

    This healthcare nonsense is ridiculous. We don't want any changes to it and Obama needs to realize this!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  39. Joyce

    To all the other people in the Global World – white Americans are allowing a few to send a message that we are still having problems with the fact that big money is behind elevating those who hate diversity in race and culture in this country. They talk about the legacy left to the future of our children – well, their actions are paving a mixed up future for the Global future of American children.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  40. David Storman

    Jimmy Carter was 100% correct. I'm a white man from NC and the N word is used daily when refering to the President. I followed and voted for Mr. Obama...and it hurts me to now that there are so many ignorant white bigots still in still in this country. NC, SC, and GA. are still full of hate for the black man...I hope some day it changes..but it isn't today.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  41. Lan P

    Today, with so much going on in our society and abroad, we choose not to come together as a nation. Though we do not agree on many issues, we need solutions to the problems that exist and must move forward. Racism will always be the under tow that drowns personality and character and we need not waste time and manhours debating over it. Let's move forward and get on with the business of refining our nation and support our troops.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  42. Maggi

    Kudos to the congress!!!! Wilson showed no respect for the President nor his fellow congressmen. I would hate to have someone representing me who could not control his temper.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  43. Robert-MS

    I am a 60 plus year old Black Vietnam Vet from Mississippi, and i know racism when i see it. Pres Carter hit the nail right on the head, and i respect him for having the guts to stand up and call it like it is.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  44. Dano

    Congress needs to get over it. The guy apologized to the President. Get on with the work of Congress. Rep Joe Wilson is the perfect representative of the 21st Century Republican: rude, closeminded, ready to believe any wacky conspiracy theory. It's a pity, because they (the Republicans) used to be respectable people.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  45. Vivian

    Free speech should be guided by professional conduct. You can say the same thing he said with kinder words that say the same thing. I think there should be conduct expectations for anyone who wants to speak out. I'll figure out if Obama actually lied or not for my own mind. You report, we decide. Those people who are in positions of respect and leadership are telling our kids it's ok to use the words they get in trouble for using in school and at home. That kind of leadership draws out loose cannon big mouths who figure it's ok to do it too.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm |
  46. Pam Williams

    I'm happy they took the time to deal with this. Joe Wilson was out of line and disrepectful to the office of the president. I'm sorry but i do think these tea parties have brought out peoples pent up racism. I am not african american and i find It frightening to see. We need to point out these examples and deal with them in the light of day. enough!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  47. D. Woodham

    This is a case of discipline. If a parent refuses to discipline a child because he or she is too busy with household chores, what do you think would be the consequences? As a parent of three sons, you would have more of the same behavior or worse. The resolution vote would not have been necessary had the Congressman apologized on the floor to his fellow representatives. If there are rules of decorum for the Congressmen, then when a representative breaks those rules, he or she should be accountable to the institution.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  48. John

    Waste of time but I've come to expect nothing less from our government. They're out of touch with the common folk. Wrapped up in their own ego and empire building.

    September 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  49. Paul

    I think Wilson did nothing wrong!

    September 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
  50. Atif

    You know..there is a ethics we have in America..yes there is free speech, but it's not illegal to chew gum in church either..while the President of the United States is making a national public address..is simply NOT DONE. Just like you don't address the Queen of England as "Elizabeth"...

    September 15, 2009 at 10:23 pm |
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