Obama said his first instinct was to 'walk down and smack' GOP Rep. Joe Wilson on the head after he shouted 'you lie' at him during a joint session of Congress
- Former President
Barack Obamasaid on "CBS Sunday Morning" that he was "shocked" to have been yelled at by GOP Rep. Joe Wilson during a joint session of Congress in 2009.
- Wilson, refuting Obama's claim that
health carereforms would not cover illegal immigrants, shouted, "You lie," to the newly-elected president during his speech.
- Obama lamented the gridlock that prevented more consensus in
Early in former president Barack Obama's first term, health care reform was a hot-button legislative item on the Democratic agenda in Washington, but he was particularly taken aback by an act of protest from a sitting GOP Congressman.
Obama said during an interview with Gayle King on "CBS Sunday Morning" that he was "shocked" to have been yelled at by Rep. Joe Wilson, a conservative from South Carolina, during a joint session of Congress in September 2009 when he was detailing his plans for the
"I am shocked," he said. "My initial instinct is, 'Let me walk down and smack this guy on the head. What is he thinking?' And instead, I just said, 'That's not true,' and I just move on. He called afterward to apologize – although, as I point out in the book, he saw a huge spike in campaign contributions to him from Republicans across the country who thought he had done something heroic."Former president Jimmy Carter, who served in office from 1977 to 1981, saw Wilson's stunt as rooted in bigotry.
"Those kinds of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care," Carter said. "It's deeper than that."Obama recalled how he sought to forge relationships with GOP members, only to be rebuffed by his openness to
He added: "The fuss of being president, the pomp, the press, the physical constraints, all that I could have done without. The actual work, though? The work, I loved, even when it didn't love me back."
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