Thursday, September 10, 2009

South Carolina Congressman heckles president during health care speech

As pundits and other interested parties dissect President Barack Obama's health care speech on Capitol Hill last night, a South Carolina Congressman's decision to heckle the commander-in-chief as a liar continues to garner attention on both sides of the aisle.

The New York Times described Republican Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst as "a rare breach of protocol." Fox News categorized it as "an extraordinary breach of Congressional decorum." And Dana Milbank of the Washington Post concluded Wilson's outburst brought "the nation's rapidly deteriorating discourse hit yet another low."

Wilson was quick to apologize after U.S. Sen. John McCain [R-Ariz.,] and a chorus of other lawmakers blasted the outburst as inappropriate, disrespectful and even shameful. The unscripted moment, however, is the latest in a series of incidents--former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's continued assertion the federal government would implement so-called death panels, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank's now famous "On what planet do you spend most of your time? sound bite at a town hall meeting last month and the man who carried a gun outside an Obama rally in Arizona--to underscore the contentious health care debate in which the country continues to find itself. And Wilson's unfortunate outburst simply brought this reality into the House chamber for millions of Americans to see for themselves.

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