By Peter Marcus, DENVER DAILY NEWS
While a South Carolina Republican is on the hot seat — even within his own party — for calling President Obama a liar during his speech to Congress, a former Colorado congressman is giving him a round of applause.
Republican Tom Tancredo said Congressman Joe Wilson should not apologize for “telling the truth.”
Wilson was chastised by his colleagues on both sides of the aisle when he erupted during Obama’s Wednesday night health care speech to a joint session of Congress. After the president stated that his health care reform proposal would not “insure illegal immigrants,” Wilson fired back.
“You lie!” he yelled from his seat, to the shock and awe of the president and Wilson’s own colleagues.
But Tancredo says, “Joe is right.”
“Obama is a liar,” said the outspoken critic of illegal immigration.
Tancredo points to an amendment Republicans attempted to attach to the Democrats’ health reform bill that would have required the government to verify the legal status of anyone receiving benefits under the plan.
“If the Democrats and the president truly wanted to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining publicly funded health care benefits, they would have approved that amendment,” said Tancredo.
The House version of the reform bill, however, does specifically address the issue by stating, “Nothing in this subtitle shall allow federal payments for affordability credits on behalf of individuals who are not lawfully in the United States.”
Meanwhile, Wilson quickly apologized for his outburst — an apology that was accepted by the president.
“This evening I let my emotions get the best of me,” he said in a statement following the incident. “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.”
His comment is already being used by Democrats as fodder for pushing the reform package. Democrats have for weeks being arguing that Republicans are not willing to work with them on the proposal, which they say is evidenced by Wilson’s explosive statement.
“Jeering the president during a speech on health care reform is absolutely a testament to how the other side views this debate, and really brings a level of indignity to it,” said Gov. Bill Ritter. “That’s really irresponsible.”
State Republican Party chairman Dick Wadhams — usually in disagreement with his liberal adversaries — didn’t disagree this time around.
“I do not believe in being disruptive,” he said.
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters