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Lawmaker apologizes for heckling Obama
In his speech in the House chamber, Obama was telling lawmakers that the Democratic plans for health care overhaul do not cover illegal immigrants.
"The reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally," Obama said. You lie!" Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted from his seat, jabbing a finger in the air.
Wilson's outburst caused Obama to pause briefly before he went on with his speech. Behind him House Speaker Nancy Pelosi could be seen glaring in Wilson's direction. Overhead in the visitors' gallery, first Lady Michelle Obama shook her head from side to side.
The outburst was loud and easily heard above other audience reactions, and it stunned many in the chamber. It appeared that Wilson, who appeared somewhat restless during the address, left quickly just as the president finished his remarks.
Wilson later called the White House and apologized to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. And Wilson repeated the apology in a statement.
"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," he said. "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 wasn't the only interruption during Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress in the House of Representatives. Earlier, Republicans laughed when Obama acknowledged that there are still significant details to be worked out before a health care overhaul can be passed.
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