WILSON'S H1N1 ATTACK.... Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) -- you know, the "you lie" heckler -- has some interesting thoughts on the public health emergency posed by the H1N1 flu virus. Naturally, he blames President Obama, not for the virus, but for the scarcity of the vaccine.
"The current administration is solely responsible. They can't blame this on any prior administration," Wilson said. "This is the responsibility of the current administration. They've put the lives of Americans at risk."
Putting aside the fact that no one has tried to blame Bush/Cheney for a flu virus, Wilson was a little vague as to how the president and his team put American lives at risk. He can't point to anything in particular -- probably because the administration has done everything it could to this point -- but Wilson still insists the White House is "solely responsible" for the problem. Just because.
Of course, the criticism does offer Dems an opportunity to take a closer look at Wilson's record on the same subject.
In a release issued on Thursday, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee claimed that any criticism of H1N1 policy by the GOP would amount to hypocrisy.
The DCCC pointed to a June vote on a supplementary appropriations bill as evidence. Wilson joined 95% of Republicans and voted against the bill, which contained special funding to combat H1N1 both domestically and internationally. But the bill also contained other much more money for other plans and programs Republicans at the time viewed as wasteful, including the Cash-For-Clunkers car purchase incentive program.
Tagged as: joe wilson, swine flu
Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal. His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."
Exposed: GOP Congressman Who Yelled "You Lie" at Obama Speech Received $240,000 from Health Care Industry
During President Obama’s address on health insurance reform to a joint session of Congress last night, he observed that some people have been spreading bad information about his proposal — and that contrary to what’s been said it would not cover illegal immigrants.
At that point the president was interrupted by Rep. Addison Graves “Joe” Wilson (right), a Republican from South Carolina.
“You lie!” Wilson shouted from the crowd.
Obama paused for a moment before continuing his address as Wilson’s colleagues looked on in shock following the breach of protocol.
Whether because of his outspokenness or in spite of it, Wilson is a major recipient of contributions from the health care industry.
In fact, over his entire congressional career, health professionals represent Wilson’s top industry contributors, donating a total of $244,196 to his campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics OpenSecrets.org database. He received another $86,150 from pharmaceutical companies, $73,050 from insurance companies and $68,000 from hospitals and nursing homes.
Among Wilson’s top contributors are the American Hospital Association, a lobby group that represents the interests of hospitals and health networks, and the American Medical Association, which represents physicians.
During a post-speech interview with CNN’s Larry King, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wilson should apologize, calling his behavior “totally disrespectful.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky told the New York Times that Wilson’s behavior was “not appropriate.”
Wilson’s office later issued an apology for the outburst:
“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 was not the first time Wilson — attorney, U.S. Army vet and former aide to U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond — has raised eyebrows by shouting at political opponents.
Seven years ago this month, the then-freshman Wilson appeared on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” with five-term Congressman Bob Filner (D-Calif.) to discuss whether to go to war in Iraq, action that Filner opposed but Wilson supported. In the course of the discussion, Filner noted that the U.S. supplied weapons to Saddam Hussein’s regime during the Iran-Iraq War — a fact revealed by the investigation into the Iran-Contra Affair, which discovered the Reagan administration secretly sold weapons to Iran, then under an arms embargo, to win support for freeing U.S. hostages in Lebanon and to fund the Nicaraguan contras, a counterrevolutionary rebel force that was fighting the country’s government.
But Filner’s statement incensed Wilson, as the Washington Post reported at the time:
“That is wrong. That’s made up,” Wilson fired back. “I can’t believe you would say something like that.”
When Filner calmly held his ground, advising Wilson to read newspaper reports and other documentation, the Republican erupted: “This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that.”
As moderator Connie Brod sat by helplessly, Filner challenged: “Hatred of America? . . . Are you accusing me?”
“Yes!” Wilson shouted. For good measure, over the next minute Wilson accused Filner of harboring “hatred of America” four more times, of being “hateful” three times and of being “viscerally anti-American” once. Filner responded, “This is not worth replying to,” and Brod finally regained control of the discussion by taking viewer phone calls.
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Facing South is the online magazine of the Institute for Southern Studies, a nonprofit research and journalism organization founded in 1970 by veterans of the civil rights movement. Read more here. If you liked this article, you can tip the writer here.
NOW, THE WHOLE REALLY SAD SITUATION OF THIS WHOLE OUTRAGEOUS OUTBURST IS THAT PEOPLE OFTEN SAY THINGS OUT OF EMOTION, (WHETHER THAT BE HATE, DISDAIN, FEAR, OR SOME OTHER SELFISH MOTIVE. BUT I THINK IT'S CLEAR WHAT JOE WILSON'S MOTIVE WAS FOR DOING WHAT HE DID AND THAT HE WAS SO PIGHEADED THAT HE DIDN'T REALIZE THAT HIS COLDNESS BY NOT VOTING FOR THE APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR H1N1 JUST MIGHT HAVE AN EFFECT ON HIS OWN HEALTH OR THE HEALTH OF HIS FAMILY MEMBERS.
IT'S BEEN REPORTED ON THE NEWS THAT MRS. WILSON (JOE'S WIFE) HAS CONTRACTED THE H1N1 FLU. HOW AWFUL THE WHOLE SITUATION HAS TURNED OUT FOR EVERY ONE OF US. I DO WISH HIS WIFE A SPEEDY RECOVERY, BUT BLAMING OBAMA FOR PUTTING THE PUBLIC AT RISK WHEN YOU VOTED DOWN AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL FOR H1N1 FLU VACINE MUST HAVE SLIPPED JOE'S POOR MIND!!!