Tales from the Trail

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.

PHILIPPINES-ECONOMY/RESERVESWithin 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.

The First Draft: Congressman Wilson’s big moment

USA-HEALTHCARE/OBAMAThe dust is settling — and the political haggling is resuming — after President Barack Obama’s healthcare speech to Congress last night, but the spotlight is still shining, though not very flatteringly, on Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina.

If you watched on TV, you might not have seen him, but you probably heard a catcall from the House chamber when Obama told the audience that illegal aliens would not be covered by the proposed healthcare plan. That was Wilson, a Republican, shouting out, “You lie!”

Problem is, Obama spoke the truth on that point, and other Republicans acknowledged that. Sen. John McCain, the Arizona Republican who ran against Obama for the presidency last year, told NBC’s “Today” show that the plan would not cover illegal immigrants. Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, one of Obama’s most vocal congressional critics, said the same thing on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Cantor and others noted that Wilson apologized, and Vice President Joe Biden figured that Obama would accept that apology. Still, feathers were ruffled.