GOP South Carolina lawmaker: Wilson should apologize again

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 15, 2009 

WASHINGTON — Rep. Bob Inglis of South Carolina on Tuesday became the first Republican lawmaker to make a public appeal to Rep. Joe Wilson to apologize to his colleagues in the House of Representatives for yelling "You lie!" at President Barack Obama last week as he addressed Congress.

Inglis, who represents the conservative Upstate section of South Carolina, said Wilson's apology to Obama immediately after his speech wasn't enough.

"Joe also broke House rules," Inglis said. "That problem could easily be fixed by an apology to the House. In the absence of an apology, the House could choose to police itself through a resolution of disapproval."

Inglis took his hard stand shortly before the House was scheduled to take up a "resolution of disapproval" reprimanding Wilson, who's also a South Carolina Republican, under rules governing conduct of the chamber's 435 members.

Inglis spoke before the session with Wilson, who reiterated that he won't apologize to his colleagues as House Democrats have demanded, Inglis said.

At a conference Tuesday of all party members, House Republican leader John Boehner of Ohio directed other Republican lawmakers to vote against the resolution of disapproval, Inglis said.

After Inglis explained his position to his colleagues, Boehner returned to the podium and again urged a unified Republican vote against the resolution of disapproval.

"I have to go home to five kids who are always told to do the right thing," Inglis told McClatchy. "It's a matter of redeeming the rule of law. There are rules of the House; they must be followed, and when they're broken, there are consequences."

Inglis said several Republican lawmakers came up to him after the meeting and said they agreed with him but wouldn't be able to vote for the resolution. Inglis predicted that he'd be among only a handful of Republican members who'd vote for it.

Wilson, 62, has become more defiant in recent days, saying that Obama accepted his late-night apology last Wednesday.

Wilson now claims that he's "under attacks by liberals" as part of a Democratic effort to gain political advantage from his outburst.

Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday that Wilson would get more campaign contributions than any House candidate ever if he were sanctioned.

Already, in less than five days since Wilson's now-famous shout-out, he and his Democratic campaign opponent, Rob Miller, raised more than $3 million combined, in excess of $1.5 million apiece.

That astonishing figure was $1.25 million more than Wilson, a retired Army National Guard colonel, and Miller, an Iraq war veteran and former Marine Corps captain, raised during 24 months for their contest last November.

Miller gave Wilson the stiffest challenge of his eight-year congressional career in a 54-46 percent victory by the incumbent.

At the White House, spokesman Bill Burton called the coming vote "House business," saying that the president already had accepted Wilson's apology.

(Margaret Talev contributed to this article.)

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McClatchy Newspapers 2009

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