Democratic Leaders Call for Official Censure Of Rep. Joe Wilson

Top Democrats are calling for an official censure of Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) after his unprecedented heckling of President Obama during a nationally televised speech to the joint chambers of Congress.

Joe Wilson’s flat refusal to apologize to the entire House for heckling President Barack Obama rekindled a push by some top Democrats to introduce a censure resolution — despite Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to consider the idea on Thursday. Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) are considering the move after Wilson adamantly refused to offer a mea culpa in the well of the House. Clyburn buttonholed him on the floor and asked him three times to publicly renounce his “You lie!” outburst, according to my colleague Victoria McGrane. “If he had just said he was sorry, nobody would be considering any of this,” added a senior Democratic aide. The aide said it was too late to push for a resolution this week — and that any resolution would hit the floor next week, giving Wilson more time to reconsider his decision.

Wilson apologized to the president almost immediately after his outburst, drawing howls of betrayal from wingnuts who were already canonizing him as the new leader of the GOP. Since then, Wilson has retreated on his apology somewhat. Meanwhile, Rob Miller, Wilson’s 2010 Democratic opponent, has benefited from an avalanche of donations, raising his election fund from $20K to almost $800,000 in less than 36 hours.