Rep. Joe Wilson apologizes for heckling Obama

The South Carolina Republican says "I let my emotions get the best of me"

Published September 10, 2009 2:29AM (EDT)

Everyone -- from those just watching President Obama's speech at home to reporters and politicians from both sides -- seems to know that Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., did Obama a big favor Wednesday night. When Wilson shouted "You lie!" at the president, he became the story, and he made all Republicans, and all Republican opposition to Democratic healthcare plans, look childish, more about anger than policy. And he put the GOP back on the defense.

So it's not surprising that Wilson was quick to issue an apology.

"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," the congressman said in a statement. "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.”

Update: Wilson also reportedly called the White House to apologize; he spoke to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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