Washington — One apology is enough, a digging-in-his-heels Rep. Joe Wilson said Sunday, challenging Democratic leaders who want him to say on the House floor that he’s sorry for yelling “You lie!” during President Barack Obama’s health care speech to Congress.
The leadership plans to propose a resolution of disapproval this week if the South Carolina Republican doesn’t publicly apologize to Congress. Such a measure would put lawmakers on the record as condemning those two words, uttered during last Wednesday’s prime-time speech, that have become a fundraising boon for the defiant Wilson and his Democratic challenger.
Wilson said a resolution would show that Democrats simply wanted to play politics and divert attention from a health care overhaul that is lagging in Congress.
“I am not going to apologize again. I apologized to the president on Wednesday night. I was advised then that, ’Thank you, now let’s get on to a civil discussion of the issues,”’ Wilson said. “I’ve apologized one time. The apology was accepted by the president, by the vice president, who I know. I am not apologizing again.”
In an interview taped Friday and broadcast Sunday evening, Obama said he accepted and appreciated Wilson’s apology, which was delivered through White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Obama said he preferred to move past the incident and focus on the broad health care overhaul.