Republican “You lie!” outburst becomes Democratic fundraising cry
Rarely, if ever, have so few words moved so many people to contribute so much money so quickly.
Within 15 hours of Republican Representative Joe Wilson yelling “You lie!” at President Barack Obama, Wilson’s Democratic foe in next year’s election received more than 10,000 donations totaling upward of $350,000, according to the House Democratic campaign committee.
“And the numbers are still rising,” a spokesman said.
Wilson’s Democratic challenger, Rob Miller, an ex-Marine turned small businessman, lost a bid last November to unseat the now five-term congressman from South Carolina, 54 percent to 46 percent.
But Miller has suddenly become increasingly hopeful that he can topple America’s best known presidential heckler in the November 2010 contest.
“Representative Wilson’s behavior tonight exemplifies everything that is wrong in Washington,” Miller said on Wednesday after Wilson’s outburst during Obama’s nationally broadcast address to Congress on healthcare reform.
“Instead of engaging in childish name-calling and disrespecting our Commander-in-Chief, Joe Wilson should be working towards a bipartisan solution that makes quality, affordable health care available to each and every South Carolinian,” Miller said.
Wilson apologized while congressional Democrats as well as fellow Republicans denounced his actions.
At the White House, Obama brushed off the matter. “I’m a big believer in that we all make mistakes,” he said. “He apologized quickly and without equivocation and I’m appreciative of that.”
While Wilson said he was sorry, he still insisted — despite Obama’s statements to the contrary — that illegal immigrants would be able to get health insurance coverage. “I say that respectfully and we need to discuss the issues,” Wilson told reporters.
Pending legislation denies coverage to illegal immigrants. But critics argue that requirements of proof of citizenship are inadequate.
The Democratic campaign committee hoped to cash-in on the Wilson furor. It sent a letter to donors on Thursday, citing Wilson’s famous one-liner — and aiming to raise another $100,000 in 24 hours to defeat Wilson and other Republicans in next year’s election.
“Your contribution will be immediately put to work to defeat Republican members of Congress and support meaningful health insurance reform,” wrote Jon Vogel, executive director of the House Democratic campaign committee.
Photo credit: Reuters/Cheryl Ravelo (dollar bills at a money changer in Manila)