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Congress: Joe Wilson's outburst

Vice President Biden said Joe Wilson's outburst "demeaned the institution." He said he was "embarrassed for the chamber and a Congress I love."
Eric Cantor: "Obviously, the President of the United States is always welcome on Capitol Hill. He deserves respect and decorum. ... I know that Congressman Wilson has issued an apology and made his thoughts known to the White House, which was the appropriate thing to do."
John McCain called the outburst "totally disrespectful." "There is no place for it in that setting, or any other, and he should apologize for it immediately," he said.

Dana Milbank writes that Wilson's heckling was only the most flagrant outburst. "There was booing from House Republicans when the president caricatured a conservative argument by saying they would 'leave individuals to buy health insurance on their own.' They hissed when he protested their 'scare tactics.' They grumbled as they do in Britain's House of Commons when Obama spoke of the 'blizzard of charges and countercharges.'

"When he asserted that 'nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have,' there was scoffing and outright laughter on the GOP side. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Tex.) shook his head in disbelief. Several Republicans shouted "What plan?" and Rep. Louis Gohmert (Tex.) waved at Obama a handwritten poster he made on a letter-size piece of paper: 'WHAT PLAN?' Gohmert then took that down and replaced it with another handmade poster that said 'WHAT BILL?'"

Roll Call: "Gohmert, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and a smattering of other Republicans also waved copies of the GOP alternative 'plan.' Similarly, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) -- who has made attacking Obama the centerpiece of his re-election campaign -- was one of only a handful of Republicans who largely refused to give Obama even perfunctory applause at lines designed to appeal to Republicans and Democrats alike, and rarely participated in standing ovations."

The New York Times noted: "[T]he biography of Mr. Wilson in CQ's 'Politics in America,' which includes this line: 'Wilson's sharp and careless remarks sometimes land him in hot water.' One example listed was Mr. Wilson's constant criticisms of Senator John Kerry during the Democrat's presidential campaign, and even includes a reference to Mr. Wilson's characterization of the news that Strom Thurmond had fathered a daughter with a black woman. Even after the longtime Republican senator's family acknowledged the paternity, Mr. Wilson called the notion a 'smear on the image' of Mr. Thurmond."