There were a few moments during tonight’s speech in which Republican members were less than respectful to President Obama, given the usual tradition in this country of deferring to the President during a speech to Congress.
The real star of the night, of course, was Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) who shouted out “You lie!” after Obama said the health care plan would not cover illegal immigrants, and was then himself booed by other House members:
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who for his part went through a real knock-down drag-out fight with Obama in last year’s election, has condemned Wilson’s outburst as “totally disrespectful,” and said there is “no place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately.”
Wilson has in fact just apologized: “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.”
It’s an understatement to say that Wilson is a big-time conservative activist — he’s actually opening his office this Saturday, to host people marching in the Glenn Beck-organized “9/12 March on Washington.” And nothing says the spirit of national unity — the original premise of Beck’s 9/12 movement — like yelling “You lie!” at the President in the middle of a speech to Congress.House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA) could be seen typing on his BlackBerry during the speech, at a point when President Obama said he’d inherited a large deficit because Republicans pass big programs without paying for them:
I sent Cantor spokesman Brad Dayspring a quick e-mail asking what Cantor was doing — was he typing a statement, taking notes, sending an e-mail, etc? Dayspring quickly replied to me that Cantor was taking notes.
And in addition, conservative House GOPers waved their own bill as a “silent protest” against the charge that they don’t have a plan: