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Joe's outburst sparks debate -

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Joe's outburst sparks debate

John Shovelan reported this story on Friday, September 11, 2009 12:26:00

ELIZABETH JACKSON: There's speculation about the future of Joe Wilson, the South Carolina
Republican Congressman who called President Obama a liar during last night's address to a joint
sitting of the Congress.

Some from the southern states say he will be re-elected in a landslide while his likely Democrat
opponent is reported to have raised $60,000 since Mr Wilson's outburst.

Mr Wilson is generally considered a mild-mannered man and many in his home state were surprised by
his comments.

The President has accepted Mr Wilson's apology but the Democrat who represents the neighbouring
district, Jim Clyburn, says he wants a more formal and public apology.

From Washington John Shovelan reports.

JOE SHOVELAN: Joe Wilson, the man who called President Barack Obama a liar has become a hero to the
right wing.

His office in Washington has been mobbed today by conservatives.

LAURA INGRAHAM: He was speaking for the American people right now, right then, at that point in
time. He was saying what you were thinking, was he not?

JOE SHOVELAN: Laura Ingraham's remarks on her conservative radio program were echoed on many
others.

But to the left, Joe Wilson is now a man who must be beaten in the 2010 mid-term elections.

PATRICK MURPHY: It's just incredible. There's no sense of decency left with these guys and they're
just hitting the lowest possible rung in the ladder to try and upset healthcare and try and undo
this presidency.

JOE SHOVELAN: Patrick Murphy is a Democratic Party consultant who saw last night's interjection
that was heard all around the world by Mr Wilson and the other raucous behaviour by Republicans
during the address as part of a concerted effort to undermine President Obama.

For his part Joe Wilson today didn't look or sound like a hero. Instead he seemed like a man who
had touched off more than he planned. He revealed he'd only said sorry after the Republican Party
leadership had told him to do so.

JOE WILSON: Well I last night heard from the leadership that they wanted me to contact the White
House and state that my statements were inappropriate; I did. I'm very grateful that the White
House, in talking with them, they indicated that they appreciated the call and that we needed to
have a civil discussion about the healthcare issues and I strongly agree with that.

JOE SHOVELAN: Democrats say Mr Wilson was made to apologise so it's not genuine.

JAMES CLYBURN: You cannot stop people from applying their own limited intelligence to words, and
that's what we have here.

JOE SHOVELAN: Democrat House Member James Clyburn says Mr Wilson must be made to formally apologise
to the House and he plans to bring it to the floor of the House for a vote.

JAMES CLYBURN: There's a decorum of the House was violated and I would have hoped when I spoke with
him today that he would follow my advice and go to the House and apologise to his colleagues for
violating the decorum, but he refused to do that.

And now he's saying today that the only reason he called the White House is because his leadership
ordered him to do so. So he has no remorse whatsoever so his words have very little meaning.

JOE SHOVELAN: Democrats say it's not enough to just ring the White House and say sorry. The
institution, they claim, has been brought into disrepute and that must be put right.

John Shovelan, Washington.