CBS's Nancy Giles: Joe Wilson Like A 'Drunk At Open Mic Night'
Published: 9/15/2009 5:58 PM ET
Appearing on CBS's Sunday Morning, commentator Nancy Giles shared her thoughts on Congressman Joe Wilson's outburst: "Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress....That's the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar."
Giles continued, denouncing all health care reform protestors: "He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer's town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren't any 'show us your birth certificate' signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856."
Giles would certainly know about "disrespect and bad behavior," on the October 5, 2003 broadcast of Sunday Morning, she compared conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to Adolf Hitler: "So as Rush's world has steadily crumbled, it's no wonder he allegedly had to turn to prescription pain killers....Edgy, controversial, brilliant....Hitler would have killed in talk radio. He was edgy, too."
Here is a full transcript of the segment:
CHARLES OSGOOD: A certain public speaker has been much in the news these past few days and much in the thoughts of our Sunday Morning contributor Nancy Giles.
NANCY GILES: This past week was big speech week for President Obama. Two in particular stand out. Tuesday was the back-to-school speech to America's students. Would it be an innocent, 'be cool, stay in school' chat or an evil socialist indoctrination by some guy with a faulty birth certificate? I watched the speech online and it seemed inspiring. But when I went back and read the text, the devil, as they say, was in the details. Listen carefully.
BARACK OBAMA: How's everybody doing today?
GILES: Sounds like an innocent salutation, but that's none of the President's business. This was an invasion of the students' privacy, an almost Stalin-esque question.
OBAMA: You cannot drop out of school and just drop into a good job. You've got to train for it. And work for it. And learn for it.
GILES: Well, this is the President as dream killer. It's an attack on the young person who fantasies about winning the lottery, being Paris Hilton, or America's Next Top Model. You're not the boss of me, Mr. President.
OBAMA: By the way, I hope all of you are washing your hands a lot.
GILES: Is he suggesting that our children are dirty? That their homes are unsanitary? Who does he think he is? Well, he's the President. And I'll say this for the students of Arlington, Virginia, they were polite. They were raised well. They sat and listened. And they weren't indoctrinated as far as I can tell. Wednesday night was the adults' turn.
OBAMA: It has now been nearly a century since Theodore Roosevelt first called for health care reform.
GILES: So there was the President in front of a joint session of Congress, making his case for health care reform. It was political theater. Half of the room applauding and the other half sitting on their hands. Some disgruntled muttering. Some texting. 'I am not listening. I am not listening.' Some sign waving and you probably heard about it, heckling. At a joint session of Congress.
JOE WILSON: You lie!
GILES: That's the voice of Representative Joe Wilson of South Carolina, not some drunk at open mic night, calling the President a liar. He later apologized, but still, it was a frightening mix of disrespect and bad behavior, with a dash of this summer's town hall meeting craziness. I guess we should be grateful that there weren't any 'show us your birth certificate' signs and at least no one beat anyone with a cane, which actually happened in the old Senate chamber in 1856. You know, we don't have to agree. But you wish your elected officials would act like the classy students in Arlington, Virginia, and across the country, and at least listen to what the President of the United States has to say.
-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.