TPM News

Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) just appeared with local talk-radio host Keven Cohen on WVOC radio in Columbia, South Carolina, where he explained how it was that he came to yell "You lie!" during President Obama's speech to Congress -- and he also said that he's received support from his colleagues in Congress, and even from Democrats.

"I was of course so energized with the town hall meetings that we had throughout the district," said Wilson. "I was really looking forward to betting back and hopefully hearing a speech where there would be a real effort to bring Republicans and Democrats together for health insurance reform. But as the speech kept on going, it really got to the point where statements were made concerning illegal aliens that I knew were not true."

Cohen asked Wilson if he'd snapped. "I didn't snap, either," Wilson replied, "because if I'd snapped I would have kept on objecting. It was this specific fact that I knew about, that I had done research on, that I had worked with my colleagues on."

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The money is still coming in for Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, the Democratic House candidate who has received a flood of donations since incumbent Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) shouted "You lie!" during President Obama's speech last night.

The DCCC just announced that in the time since the Wilson outburst, Miller has received more than $500,000, from over 14,000 individual contributors.

Think about this: It isn't even the main campaign season yet, and nevertheless a cool half-million has come in online for Miller in less than 24 hours.

Over the last several weeks, a number of Democratic sources have suggested that Senate leaders might be able to convince the retiring Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) to support a health care reform package--or at least to agree not to support a filibuster of it.

We now have a couple of telling data points, suggesting there may be something to that hunch. In advance of President Obama's speech last night, Voinovich released a long, and mostly dour statement about the status of the health care fight.

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At the kickoff today to this weekend's big anti-health care reform rallies in Washington, D.C., FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey defended Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), saying, "Cut Mr. Wilson a little slack."

Armey said Obama started the liar talk when he said the idea of death panels is "a lie, plain and simple."

"So what's the rule here? President of the United of States can say you're liars and somebody else cannot? Give poor old Joe Wilson a break here," Armey said to reporters, according to the Washington Independent. "Now, again, I cut him no slack. He knows better, or he should. He got himself in trouble and he reflected badly on people who share his point of view. But don't let Obama off the hook for saying the same thing."

Despite cutting him "no slack" himself, Armey urged others to do so.

"Unless you're willing to call the president out, cut Mr. Wilson a little slack," he said according to TheHill.com.

Wilson yelled, "You lie!" during President Obama's address to Congress Wednesday night.

The crowd of 800 reportedly chanted "You lie! You lie!" at several points during today's rally, held outside the Capitol. They weren't calling out the event's speakers, which included several Republican members of Congress, but rallying around Wilson.

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Rep. Joe Wilson's (R-SC) Democratic opponent, Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, has released this statement, thanking people for the hundreds of thousands of dollars he's received since Wilson's "You lie!" outburst:

Representative Joe Wilson's stunning behavior last night exemplifies all that is wrong in Washington DC. Time and time again, instead of real solutions to help South Carolina families, we see more partisan politics and petty name-calling.

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Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) of "You Lie!" fame wasn't the only GOPer to show President Obama something less than complete respect during last night's speech on health care before a joint session of Congress.

The Swamp reports that a few minutes before Obama's speech ended last night, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) stood up and walked out.

The Swamp explains that Shimkus' spokesman rationalized the walkout this way: "Congressman Shimkus was frustrated that the president was not offering any new ground and left with just minutes remaining in the speech."

Just as Sen. Lindsey Graham did earlier, Shimkus took issue with the President's tone, with his spokesman saying that "the tone did not bring Republicans on board."

I've heard of walking out of movies, but this...

A Democratic source sends over some numbers in the wake of President Obama's speech yesterday, and they should encourage his supporters.

After last night's speech, Obama's political arm, Organizing for America sent out an email to supporters asking them to declare their support for the "Obama Plan."

In the 18 hours since the speech, the source says, they've had 381,000 sign ups, and the number continues to rise at a consistent rate.

That may be a bit abstract, though, so the source notes that OFA--which exists under the umbrella of the Democratic National Committee--has raised $1.1 million since the speech, without including a fundraising request as part of the petition.

Polling data indicated that the speech was a hit with the public--and it seems as if its popularity translated into more quantifiable political momentum.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) tells me he thinks President Obama gave the cause of health reform "a big boost last night, but though he supports Obama's proposal, he does have a few concerns.

"I think it was very powerful and even more importantly very persuasive," Wyden told me. "Health care is such a complicated issue, and intensely personal and the way the President outlined it, it really served as a trampoline--a jump--to the next part of the debate which is on the Senate Finance Committee on which I serve."

On the specifics of the President's plan, Wyden laid out a small handful of issues he'd like to see improved. Specifically, and foremost, Wyden says, "the area that i would like to be bolder in is in this area of creating a market through choice and competition."

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RNC Chairman Michael Steele told the Washington Times that it was "bad form" for President Obama to talk about a letter he received from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), at last night's speech to Congress.

"I'm sorry, but I just felt a bit unnerved by it, in the sense he just passed," said Steele.

"His wife was still clearly emotional," Steele added. "I just thought that was bad form. We all understand and appreciate the role Sen. Kennedy has played in this debate and the passion he brought to health care. I just thought that was a little bit much for me, so soon after his death, using that as a political tool."

Steele seems to be under the impression that this was all a surprise to Vicki Kennedy -- that it was some kind of coincidence that she'd been invited to sit as a guest of Michelle Obama during a speech on one of her late husband's biggest political issues.

(Via Political Wire)

In another freewheeling performance in front of the cameras this afternoon, Mark Sanford accused state lawmakers of trying to railroad him out of office, and demanded that he be given a chance to present his "side of the story."

"It is not OK to short-circuit an ethics process to try and get the result that you want," said the beleaguered governor, referring to an ethics inquiry that's focused on his decision to leave the state in the lurch when he visited his Argentinean mistress, and his use of state aircraft.

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