GOP lawmaker’s heckling draws fire, cash

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A DCCC aide said in all, Mr. Miller has raised more than $200,000 from more than 5,000 individuals.

The DCCC tried to amplify that figure in a fundraising email that accused Mr. Wilson of having “screamed” at Mr. Obama.

“Calling the president of the United States a liar in front of the nation is a new low even for House Republicans and it deserves the strongest response we can give,” the DCCC wrote, asking for help raising $100,000 in 48 hours to “send a message” that the heckling is “truly an outrage.”

MoveOn.org started its own petition using Mr. Wilson, telling its millions of supporters: “We can’t afford to let right-wing extremists like Joe Wilson hold health care reform hostage.”

In addition, right-leaning blogs posted links to contribute to Mr. Wilson, with RedState calling the lawmaker a “hero.” And liberals mounted an effort to send complaints to Mr. Wilson.

The congressman’s congressional and political Web sites were bombarded with traffic while his phone lines were jammed Wednesday night. The House site finally warned visitors it was “down for maintenance.”

Mr. Wilson, who easily won his seat in a 2001 special election, is a staunch opponent of Mr. Obama’s plan.

The shouting incident shocked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, whose mouth dropped open as she turned toward the Republican side of the chamber. In video images, Mrs. Pelosi appeared to whisper Mr. Wilson’s name to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who sat beside her behind the president.

Former Republican Sen. Arlen Specter, now a Pennsylvania Democrat, offered a sharp critique of Mr. Wilson and called for legislative action.

“There ought to be a reprimand or censure of Rep. Joe Wilson to discourage that kind of conduct in the future,” Mr. Specter wrote on Twitter Thursday.

Mr. Specter said he did not find the apology statement “adequate.”

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, called Mr. Wilson’s comment “totally disrespectful.”

Mr. Wilson’s son, South Carolina attorney Alan Wilson, this week announced a bid to be the state’s attorney general.

About the Author

Christina Bellantoni

Christina Bellantoni is a White House correspondent for The Washington Times in Washington, D.C., a post she took after covering the 2008 Democratic presidential campaigns. She has been with The Times since 2003, covering state and Congressional politics before moving to national political beat for the 2008 campaign. Bellantoni, a San Jose native, graduated from UC Berkeley with ...

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