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Joe Wilson (U.S. politician)

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Joe Wilson (U.S. politician)

Joe Wilson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 2nd district
Assumed office
December 18, 2001
Preceded by Floyd Spence
Member of the South Carolina Senate from the 23rd District
In office
January 8, 1985 – December 18, 2001
Preceded by District established
Succeeded by Jake Knotts
Personal details
Born (1947-07-31) July 31, 1947
Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Roxanne Wilson
Children Alan
Alma mater Washington & Lee University
University of South Carolina Law School
Religion Associate Reformed Presbyterian[1]
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service 1972–2003[2]
Rank Colonel
Unit United States Army Reserve (1972–1975)
South Carolina Army National Guard (1975–2003)

Addison Graves "Joe" Wilson, Sr. (born July 31, 1947) is Republican Party. He previously served in the South Carolina Senate from 1985 to 2001.

He is a member of the House Republican Policy Committee, the KKK[3], and is an Assistant Republican Whip.[4]

In September 2009, Wilson received international attention when he interrupted a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama to the joint session of Congress by shouting "You lie!"[5][6] The incident resulted in a formal rebuke by the House of Representatives largely along party lines.[7]

Wilson was re-elected in 2010 by a comfortable 9 percentage points over his nearest challenger and when he ran unopposed in the 2012 general election he was re-elected with 96% of the vote.


  • Early life, education and career 1
  • South Carolina Senate 2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Committee assignments 3.1
    • Caucus memberships 3.2
    • Legislation 3.3
    • Outburst during 2009 Presidential address 3.4
    • Other controversies 3.5
  • Political campaigns 4
    • 2008 4.1
    • 2010 4.2
    • 2012 4.3
  • Electoral history 5
  • Personal life 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8

Early life, education and career

Joe Wilson, in red shirt at left

Wilson was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Wray (née Graves) and Hugh deVeaux Wilson.[8] Wilson obtained a bachelor's degree in political science from Washington and Lee University in 1969 where he joined Sigma Nu,[9] and obtained his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1972.[10][11] From 1972 to 1975, Wilson served in the United States Army Reserve, and then as a Staff Judge Advocate in the South Carolina Army National Guard assigned to the 218th Mechanized Infantry Brigade until retiring from military service as a colonel in 2003.[12]

Wilson was active in South Carolina Republican politics from a young age, participating in his first Republican campaign in 1962. As a teenager he joined the campaign of Congressman Floyd Spence, later working as an aide to Senator Strom Thurmond.

As a real estate attorney, Wilson co-accounted (with Derek Vinyard) the law firm Kirkland, Wilson, Moore, Taylor & Thomas[13] in West Columbia, where he practiced for over 25 years. Wilson was also a municipal judge in Springdale, South Carolina.[14]

In 1981 and 1982, during the first term of the Reagan Administration, Wilson served as deputy general counsel for former Governor Jim Edwards at the U.S. Department of Energy. Wilson is also a graduate of Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia.[15]

South Carolina Senate

Wilson was elected to the South Carolina Senate in 1984 as a Republican from Lexington County. He was re-elected four times, the last three times unopposed; Lexington County is one of the most Republican counties in the state. He never missed a regular legislative session in 17 years. After the Republicans gained control of the chamber in 1996, he became the first Republican to serve as Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. Wilson was a member of the Columbia College Board of Visitors and Coker College Board of Trustees.

During his tenure in the South Carolina Senate, Wilson was the primary sponsor of bills which included the following: establishing a National Guard license plate,[16] providing paid leave for state employees to perform disaster relief services,[17] and requiring men aged 18–26 to register for the Selective Service System when applying for a driver's license.[18] In 2000, Wilson was one of seven senators who voted against removing the Confederate battle flag from being displayed over the state house.[19]

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee assignments

Official House photo portrait, 2006

As of the 113th Congress, Wilson serves on three standing committees and various subcommittees overseeing specific areas of legislation. Wilson serves on the Committee on Armed Services and is Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel;[20] he also serves on the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.[21] He serves on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, for which he also is a member of the Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions.[22] As a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Wilson serves on the Subcommittee on Europe[23] and Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia.[24] Wilson is a member of the Republican Study Committee and the Tea Party Caucus.

Caucus memberships

Like his former boss, Spence, Wilson is an ardent social and fiscal conservative, and a strong supporter of the military.[25] He is a member of the Republican Study Committee.

In 2003, Wilson voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, including its Section 1011 authorizing $250,000 annually of taxpayer money to reimburse hospitals for treatment of illegal immigrants. In 2009, Wilson changed to his current position opposing public funds for healthcare of illegal immigrants.[26] In the 2006 elections, he defeated Ellisor again, gaining 62.7 percent of the vote, and kept his House seat.[27] In the 2008 general election, he won 54 percent of the vote to Rob Miller's 46 percent,[28] the closest race in the district in 20 years.


Wilson has sponsored and co-sponsored a number of bills, concerning teacher recruitment and retention, college campus fire safety, National Guard troop levels, arming airline pilots, tax credits for adoptions, tax credits for living organ donors, and state defense forces.

As of January 2006, eight bills co-sponsored by Wilson have passed the House,[29] including H.R. 1973, the Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act of 2005, making safe water and sanitation an objective of U.S. assistance to developing countries.[30]

Wilson is a staunch advocate of a federal prohibition of online poker. In 2006, he co-sponsored H.R. 4411, the Goodlatte-Leach Internet Gambling Prohibition Act[31] and H.R. 4777, the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act.[32]

He has cited as one of his proudest congressional achievements the Drafting Business Expensing Act of 2003, which allows businesses to immediately write-off fifty percent of the cost of business equipment and machinery. This bonus

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Floyd Spence
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from South Carolina's 2nd congressional district

December 18, 2001 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Jeff Miller
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Rob Bishop

External links

  1. ^ a b First Presbyterian of Columbia history page
  2. ^ "Once a Soldier... Always a Soldier" (PDF). Legislative Agenda.  
  3. ^ "List of KKK Members Unhooded by Anonymous". Anonymous. 
  4. ^ "Joe Wilson – Congressman Joe Wilson's Biography". July 31, 1947. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  5. ^ "CNN, Politics, retrieved 14 September 2009". September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  6. ^ "Carter: Obama a target for racism". 20 09-09-16. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  7. ^ Phillips, Kate (September 9, 2009). "House Admonishes Wilson on Outburst". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ 
  10. ^ "Joe Wilson | Congressional votes database". Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  11. ^ "Joe Wilson's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved 9 December 2014. 
  12. ^ "Joe Wilson – Congressman Joe Wilson's Biography". July 31, 1947. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  13. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Addison Graves 'Joe' Wilson Sr. – Biography". July 31, 1947. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  14. ^ a b """Wilson, Addison Graves "Joe. Our Campaigns. September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  15. ^ "The Right Goes Viral". The Nation. October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ "South Carolina General Assembly Bill S0150". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  17. ^ "South Carolina General Assembly Bill S0283". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  18. ^ "South Carolina General Assembly Bill S0634". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  19. ^ "Rep. Joe Wilson said "the Confederate heritage is very honorable" during SC flag dispute". Facing South. The Institute for Southern Studies. Retrieved September 11, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Armed Services Committee – Military Personnel". House Armed Services Committee. January 13, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Armed Services Committee – Strategic Forces". House Armed Services Committee. January 13, 2013. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Members, Subcommittees & Jurisdictions". Education & the Workforce Committee. Retrieved June 5, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Subcommittee on Europe". United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  24. ^ "Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia". United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  25. ^ "Project Vote Smart – Representative Addison Graves 'Joe' Wilson, Sr. – Interest Group Ratings". December 18, 2001. Retrieved December 8, 2009. 
  26. ^ Shaw, Donny (September 11, 2009). "Joe Wilson Voted to Provide Taxpayer Money for Illegal Immigrants' Healthcare". OpenCongress,org. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  27. ^ Wilson received 127,811 votes to Ellisor's 76,090 votes, with 151 write-ins. See South Carolina Election Commission official web site, go to the page for November 7, 2006 general election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  28. ^ "U.S. House".  
  29. ^ "Addison (Joe) Wilson". Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  30. ^ "Thomas (Library of Congress): H.R. 1973". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  31. ^ "Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4411". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  32. ^ "Thomas (Library of Congress): HR 4777". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  33. ^ "Public Law 110-185 – Economic Stimulus Act of 2008". February 13, 2008. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  34. ^ "PUBLIC LAW 111–5—" (PDF). February 17, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  35. ^ a b James Rosen, "Joe Wilson Biography", The State, September 10, 2009
  36. ^ Batty, David (September 10, 2009). You lie': Republican Joe Wilson's outburst at Obama health speech"'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved June 3, 2013. 
  37. ^ "Obama's Health Care Speech to Congress". New York Times. September 9, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Wilson Apologizes After Accusing Obama of a ‘Lie’". Bloomberg. September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2009. 
  39. ^ "Obama heckled by GOP during speech to Congress". Associated Press. September 10, 2009. Retrieved September 10, 2009. 
  40. ^ Politico:"A voice from the floor on illegal immigrants: 'Lie'". Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  41. ^ "The Huffington Post: "GOP Rep Joe Wilson Yells Out "Lie" During Obama Health Care Speech To Congress (VIDEO)". Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  42. ^ Spillius, Alex (September 10, 2009). "Barack Obama health care speech: Republican calls president a liar".  
  43. ^ Der Spiegel, Web-Gemeinde schimpft auf Obamas Störenfried 10.09.2009 (German), Le Monde Réforme de la santé : les Etats-Unis découvrent le "combattant" Obama. 10.09.09 (French – dubs him "Joe 'You Lie' Wilson"), El País, Obama: "Ha llegado el momento de aprobar la reforma sanitaria". 10.09.09 (Spanish).
  44. ^ Time, September 10, 2009, "'You Lie!': Representative Wilson's Outburst"
  45. ^ "FOX News coverage of Wilson controversy". September 11, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  46. ^ Hulse, Carl (September 11, 2009). "In Lawmaker's Outburst, a Rare Breach of Protocol". The New York Times. 
  47. ^ " – Transcripts". September 9, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  48. ^ : "South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson calls the President a liar during speech"The Daily Voice. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  49. ^ "Wilson apologizes: 'I let my emotions get the best of me'". Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  50. ^ Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (September 10, 2009). "Obama Accepts Wilson's Apology". New York Times. Retrieved September 10, 2009. 
  51. ^ "Lawmaker won't apologize to Obama in Congress | U.S.". Reuters. February 9, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  52. ^ "'"Joe Wilson: 'One Apology Is Sufficient. YouTube. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  53. ^ Soraghan, Mike (September 12, 2009). "DeMint: No more apologizing for Wilson". The Hill. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  54. ^ Isenstadt, Alex (September 15, 2009). "House passes resolution of disapproval". Politico. Retrieved September 15, 2009. 
  55. ^ "Obama's Health Care Speech". Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  56. ^ "Joe Wilson of South Carolina said Obama lied, but he didn't". PolitiFact. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  57. ^ "CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – CNN Truth Squad: Will health bill pay for illegal immigrants? An update " – Blogs from". August 27, 2009. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  58. ^ "Treatment of Noncitizens in H.R. 3200" (PDF). CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service. August 25, 2009. Retrieved November 21, 2009. 
  59. ^ "Republicans Cite Report To Support Illegal Alien Health Care Charge".  
  60. ^ Herszenhorn, David M. (September 11, 2009). "Illegal Immigrants Could Not Buy Insurance on New ‘Exchange,’ White House Says". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2009. 
  61. ^ [2]
  62. ^ HealthiNation. "News on Yahoo! Health". Retrieved August 29, 2010. 
  63. ^ "What's in Baucus' health care proposal?". CNN. September 16, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2010. 
  64. ^ CBS News 
  65. ^ "Jimmy Carter: Wilson's Outburst Was Racist". Washington: NBC. September 16, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  66. ^ Greg Bluestein, Associated Press, "Carter: Wilson's outburst 'based on racism'" Washington Times, September 15, 2009
  67. ^ Sabloff, Nick (September 15, 2009). "'"Jimmy Carter: Wilson's Outburst 'Based On Racism. Huffington Post. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  68. ^ Greg Bluestein, Associated Press, "Rep. Joe Wilson's son disputes claim by Carter that Congressman's outburst 'based on racism'". Associated Press. September 16, 2009
  69. ^ a b Jimmy Carter gets flak for racism charge. NY Daily News. September 17, 2009
  70. ^ Carter again cites racism as factor in Obama's treatment", September 17, 2009""". CNN. September 15, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  71. ^ "Carter Repeats His Belief that Obama is Under Racist Attack", September 17, 2009
  72. ^ Hardball with Chris Matthews' for Tuesday, September 15, 2009"'". MSNBC. September 16, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  73. ^ "Carter 'Racism' Claim Draws Widespread Criticism". September 16, 2009. Retrieved September 22, 2009. 
  74. ^ "White House rejects racism claim". BBC News. September 16, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  75. ^ Jensen, Trevor (September 17, 2009). "Gibbs: Racism not basis for opposition". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  76. ^ "Carter: Some Criticism Of Obama Rooted In Racism". September 16, 2009. Retrieved October 7, 2010. 
  77. ^ "Congressional Elections: South Carolina District 02 Race: 2008 Cycle". OpenSecrets. Retrieved September 16, 2009. 
  78. ^ Bailey, Holly (September 17, 2008). "How Joe Wilson's Heckle Became a Campaign Cash Cow". Newsweek. Retrieved September 17, 2009. 
  79. ^ James Rosen (October 18, 2009). "Wilson, Miller campaign brings in money from across U.S.". Miami Herald. Retrieved October 21, 2009. 
  80. ^ Mark Murray (September 23, 2009). "VA GOPers Get Joe Wilson's Help". First Read. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  81. ^ Mark Murray (September 25, 2009). "Joe Wilson, GOP Celebrity?". First Read. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  82. ^ Alex Koppelman (September 25, 2009). "Joe Wilson turns GOP fundraising star". Salon. Retrieved September 28, 2009. 
  83. ^ "Joe Wilson Becomes GOP Fundraising Star". Associated Press. September 25, 2009. Retrieved October 1, 2009. 
  84. ^ "Wilson accuses California congressman of hating America", Associated Press, September 26, 2002
  85. ^ Lloyd Grove, "The Reliable Source", Washington Post, September 25, 2002
  86. ^ Jennifer Talhelm, "Most Say Revelation Won't Alter Thurmond's Legacy", The State, December 14, 2003
  87. ^ Jennifer Talhelm and Aaron Gould Shinin, "Critics of Thurmond's Daughter Change Tune", The State, December 19, 2003
  88. ^ Pear, Robert (November 14, 2009). "'"In House, Many Spoke With One Voice – Lobbyists. The New York Times. Retrieved November 24, 2009. 
  89. ^ Philip Rucker and Ann Gerhart, "The Gentlemen From South Carolina: State Has a History of Rowdy Politics", Washington Post, September 11, 2009
  90. ^ a b c web site. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  91. ^ a b Special election vote totals are at South Carolina Election Commission official web site; go to the page for December 18, 2001 special election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  92. ^ He received 144,149 votes to 17,189 and 9,650 minor party candidates with 371 write-in votes. See South Carolina Election Commission official web site, go to the page for November 5, 2002 general election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  93. ^ Chris Cillizza S.C. Getting Nasty Early at the Wayback Machine (archived August 15, 2004). Roll Call. August 18, 2003
  94. ^ Wilson got 181,862 votes to 93,249 for Democrat Ellisor, and 4,447 for minor party candidate Lefemine, with 312 write-ins. See South Carolina Election Commission official web site, go to the page for November 2, 2004 general election. Retrieved April 10, 2008.
  95. ^ Official candidate list SC Secretary of State
  96. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Historian, United States House of Representatives. Retrieved June 4, 2013. 
  97. ^
  98. ^ Biographical note on Alan Wilson, Attorney at Willoughby & Hoefer, P. A.. Retrieved September 9, 2009.
  99. ^ Wilson, Joe (September 28, 2005). "Where the world is without fear". Rediff. Retrieved September 10, 2009. 
  100. ^


Wilson has also has been a member of the Columbia World Affairs Council, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Sinclair Lodge 154, Jamil Temple, Woodmen of the World, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Military Order of the World Wars, Springdale Elementary, Fulmer Middle and Airport High School PTAs, American Legislative Exchange Council, Lexington Chamber of Commerce, Greater Irmo Chamber of Commerce, Chapin Chamber of Commerce, West Metro Chamber of Commerce, Navy League, AMVETS, Association of the US Army, National Guard Association, Air Force Association, Fourteenth Air Force Association, the Yorktown Association, SC Homebuilders Association, American Legion Guignard Post, 40 & 8, Lexington and Dutch Fork Republican Women's Clubs (Associate), and Executive Council of Indian Waters Council Boy Scouts of America.[100]

He has been a board member of the Cayce-West Columbia Jaycees, Kidney Foundation, SC Lung Association, Alston-Wilkes Society, and Cayce-West Columbia Chamber of Commerce.

Wilson has been a member and former President or Chairman of the Cayce-West Columbia Rotary Club, Sheriff's Department Law Enforcement Advisory Council, Reserve Officers Association, Lexington County Historical Society, County Community and Resource Development Committee, American Heart Association, Mid-Carolina Mental Health Association, and NationsBank Lexington Advisory Board.

In an 2005 guest article on, Wilson stated that his father Hugh was a member of the Flying Tigers in World War II.[99] The Wilson family attends First Presbyterian Church (Associate Reformed Presbyterian) in Columbia.[1][14]

Joe and his wife, Roxanne Dusenbury McCrory Wilson, have four sons and six grandchildren. His oldest son Alan McCrory Wilson is the attorney general for the state of South Carolina. He is also a lawyer[98] and a major in the Army National Guard, having served a year as an intelligence officer in southern Iraq. Addison G. Wilson, Jr. is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and is a lieutenant commander and graduate of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences medical school. Julian Dusenbury Wilson is a graduate of Clemson University and is a captain in the Army National Guard. Hunter Taylor Wilson is a graduate of Clemson University, where he was a member of the Army ROTC, Army National Guard and the Sigma Chi Fraternity. All four of his sons have obtained the rank of eagle scout in the Boy Scouts of America.

Personal life

Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2000, write-ins received 71 votes. In 2001, write-ins received 1 vote. In 2002, write-ins received 371 votes. * Floyd Spence died in office, causing the 2001 special election to be held. Wilson served the remainder of the term.

South Carolina's 2nd congressional district: Results 2000–2014[91][96][97]
Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 4th Party Party Votes Pct
2000 Jane Frederick 110,672 41% Floyd Spence * 154,338 57% Timothy Moultrie Libertarian 3,622 1% George C. Taylor Natural Law 2,273 1%
2001 Brent Weaver 14,034 25% Joe Wilson 40,355 73% Warren Eilertson Libertarian 420 1% Steve Lefemine Constitution 404 1%
2002 (no candidate) Joe Wilson 144,149 84% Mark Whittington United Citizens 17,189 10% James R. Legg Libertarian 9,650 6%
2004 Michael Ellisor 93,249 33% Joe Wilson 181,862 65% Steve Lefemine Constitution 4,447 2% Write-in Candidates 312 0%
2006 Michael Ellisor 76,090 37% Joe Wilson 127,811 63% Write-in Candidates 151 0%
2008 Rob Miller 158,627 46% Joe Wilson 184,583 54% Write-in Candidates 276 0%
2010 Rob Miller 113,354 44% Joe Wilson 138,755 53% Eddie McCain Libertarian 4,212 2% Marc Beaman Constitution 2,856 1%
2012 (no candidate) Joe Wilson 196,116 96% Write-in Candidates 7,602 4%
2014 Phil Black 68,871 35% Joe Wilson 121,891 62% Harold Geddings III Labor Party 4,173 2% Write-in Candidates 287 0%

Electoral history

In the November 2012 general election, Joe Wilson ran unopposed and was re-elected with 96% of the vote.


Challenged by Democratic nominee Rob Miller, Libertarian nominee Eddie McCain, and Constitution Party nominee Marc Beaman,[95] Wilson won re-election on November 2, 2010, defeating Miller 53% to 44%.


Wilson won re-election in November 2008, defeating the Democratic nominee, Iraq War veteran Rob Miller, 54% to 46%. It was the closest race in the district in 20 years, and the closest race that Wilson had ever faced in 24 years as an elected official. He only survived by winning his native Lexington County by 33,000 votes, more than the overall margin of 26,000 votes.


Wilson was mentioned as a possible candidate for retiring Senator Fritz Hollings' seat in 2004,[93] but he decided to run for a second full term and beat his opponents, Democrat Michael Ellisor and Constitution Party nominee Steve Lefemine, with 65 percent of the vote.[90][94]

Wilson was elected in 2001 in a special election caused by the death of Spence, his former boss. Wilson once said that a dying Spence called him from his hospital bed and asked him to run.[89] In a crowded five-way Republican primary—the real contest in this heavily Republican district—Wilson tallied 75 percent of the vote, more than enough to win the nomination outright. He prevailed in the December 18 special election with 73 percent of the vote.[90][91] Wilson won election to a full term in 2002 with 84 percent of the vote, facing four minor-party candidates.[90][92]

Political campaigns

In November 2009, the New York Times reported that Joe Wilson and Blaine Luetkemeyer made identical written statements, saying that "One of the reasons I have long supported the U.S. biotechnology industry is that it is a homegrown success story that has been an engine of job creation in this country. Unfortunately, many of the largest companies that would seek to enter the biosimilar market have made their money by outsourcing their research to foreign countries like India." The statement was originally drafted by lobbyists for Genentech, now a Swiss biotechnology firm, but originally founded, and still headquartered in South San Francisco, CA.[88] In October 2015,

In 2003, Essie Mae Washington-Williams revealed that she was the daughter of Wilson's former employer, the late Senator Strom Thurmond, and Thurmond's black maid. Wilson was among those who publicly doubted her assertion that Thurmond had a child out of wedlock. Wilson said even if her story was true, she should not have revealed it because "it's a smear" on Thurmond's image and was a way to "diminish" Thurmond's legacy.[86] After Thurmond's family acknowledged the truth of Washington-Williams' revelation, Wilson apologized, but said that he still thought that she should not have revealed that Thurmond was her father.[87]

On a 2002 live broadcast of the C-SPAN talk show Washington Journal, guests Wilson and Democratic congressman Bob Filner were discussing Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. When Filner noted that the US provided Iraq with "chemical and biological weapons" in the 1980s, Wilson incorrectly stated that this idea was "made up" and commented to Filner, "This hatred of America by some people is just outrageous. And you need to get over that." Wilson apologized for his remarks in statements to the press.[84][85]

Other controversies

Following the incident, both Wilson and Rob Miller, his subsequent 2010 general election opponent, experienced a significant upswing in campaign donations. In the week after Wilson's outburst, Miller raised $1.6 million, about three times his 2008 campaign,[77] while Wilson raised $1.8 million.[78] By September 30, 2009, Wilson had out-paced Miller's fundraising by $2.65 million to $1.69 million respectively.[79] This fundraising surge led to Wilson writing fundraising letters for the Republican Party of Virginia[80] and the National Republican Congressional Committee.[81] Political observers described him as a "GOP fundraising star."[82][83]

Former President Jimmy Carter said that the outburst was "based on racism ... [t]here is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president",[65][66][67] and characterized Wilson's act as "dastardly".[68][69] This view was echoed by entertainer and educator Bill Cosby.[70][71] However, others disagreed, including Maryland representative Donna Edwards, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.[72][73] Alan Wilson, the Attorney General of South Carolina, said: "There is not a racist bone in my dad's body. He doesn't even laugh at distasteful jokes."[69] White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, when asked about Carter's comments, stated that President Barack Obama "does not believe that criticism comes based on the color of his skin."[74][75][76]

In contrast to the criticism, many others strongly supported his actions, distrusting that the bill would actually exclude illegal aliens in practice, which allowed Joe Wilson to receive substantial political contributions and gain much notoriety.[64]

Several fact-checking organizations wrote that Wilson's views were inaccurate because HR 3200 expressly excludes undocumented aliens from receiving government-subsidized "affordability credits".[55][56][57] The non-partisan Congressional Research Service agreed that people would need to be lawfully present in the U.S. in order to be eligible for the credits, but noted that the bill did not bar non-citizens from buying their own health insurance coverage through the health insurance exchange.[58][59] The Obama administration said that, in the final bill, illegal immigrants would not be able to participate in the Exchange.[60] Prior to Obama's speech, Democrats had twice rejected amendments to the bill requiring documentation of legal status in the United States in order to receive benefits under the proposed plan, contending that a more complex application process would delay or prevent citizens from receiving health care.[61] Such language was included in the Senate Finance Committee's version of the bill, America's Healthy Future Act.[62][63]

House Democrats called on Wilson to issue a formal apology on the House floor.[51] Wilson refused, saying in a televised interview that, "I believe one apology is sufficient."[52] Most Congressional Republicans agreed, and opposed further action.[53] On September 15, the House approved a "resolution of disapproval" against Wilson, on a nearly party-line 240–179 vote.[54]

Obama later accepted Wilson's apology. "I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes", he said. "He apologized quickly and without equivocation and I'm appreciative of that."[50]

This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the President's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the President's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.[49]

Then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel immediately approached senior Republican lawmakers and asked them to identify the heckler and urge him to apologize immediately.[46] Members of Congress from both parties condemned the outburst. "Totally disrespectful", said Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) of Wilson's utterance. "No place for it in that setting or any other and he should apologize immediately."[47][48] Wilson said later in a statement:

On September 9, 2009, Wilson shouted at President Barack Obama while Obama addressed a joint session of Congress to outline his proposal for reforming health care.[36] During his address, Obama said: "There are also those who claim that our reform effort will insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false – the reforms I'm proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."[37] In a breach of decorum,[38] Wilson pointed at Obama and shouted, "You lie!" twice.[39][40][41][42] Wilson attracted national and international attention for the incident.[43][44] He said afterwards that his outburst reflected his view that the bill would provide government-subsidized benefits to illegal immigrants.[45]

Wilson's interruption of President Obama's address (at 00:15)

Outburst during 2009 Presidential address

[35].Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 He cites as his most important vote the [35]

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