March 22nd, 2010
03:39 PM ET

'Baby killer' heckler revealed

Texas Rep. Randy Neugebauer says he was the Republican House member who called out "baby killer" during the chamber's debate Sunday night on the health care reform bill.

Neugebauer issued a statement Monday apologizing for the outburst. His statement said he called out, "It's a baby killer," in reference to a last-minute deal between Michigan Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak and the White House that secured the support of Stupak and other anti-abortion Democrats for the health care bill.

"Last night was the climax of weeks and months of debate on a health care bill that my constituents fear and do not support," Neugebauer's statement said. "In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase 'it's a baby killer' in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership."

The interruption occurred as Stupak was delivering an emotional speech defending the deal with the White House that called for President Barack Obama to issue an executive order guaranteeing that the health care bill would not change existing limits on federal funding for abortion. The phrase yelled by Neugebauer was initially believed to have been directed at Stupak personally.

"While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself," Neugebauer's statement said.

"I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill," the statement concluded. "The House Chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate."

The incident evoked memories of Rep. Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, who yelled "you lie" during Obama's health care speech to a joint session of Congress in September. Wilson also apologized, and the House formally reprimanded Wilson for the outburst.

- CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this story

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Filed under: Abortion • Health Care • Politics
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Jack

    It's short-sightedness like this and evidenced by Neughebauer that is extremely disconcerting. "Baby killer" you fool, turn 6.

    March 22, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill Kolek

    "It was an unfortunate outburst and I am sure he is sorry said it. However, he is a member of congress and should have control over his emotions."

    March 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Talon

    People in general nowadays have just about abandoned their manners over healthcare, but congressional members should be extra ashamed for their lack of decorum in this manner. Besides, outbursts are the mark of desperation, weakness and lack of anything more meaningful to say. The Republican party and opponents of the bill would do well to curb their unrestrained hatred and direct it to something more productive rather than make a fool of themselves.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mack Johnson

    The Republicans continue to show just how disciplined and principled they are. The drumbeat goes on–obsfuscate, overstate, deliberatively misstate and lie with an apparent clear understanding that they can do so with impunity. If the gentleman from Texas did not direct his comment to Rep. Stupak why is he apologizing to the congressman. I suspect if a probe turned up a recording of the comment you would not find "It's" preceding "baby killer". A sizable percent of the conservative wingnuts are not descent human beings.

    March 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. todd

    I wouldn't mind hearing any legitmate qualms about this legislation, but if all the opposition is capable of doing is throwing slurs and foul language, they are basically saying, "We don't care what is in this bill. We just hate the fact that a democrat is in the White House, and that the President is not white."

    Note that the Republicans don't even have an alternative, detailed bill. They can't even claim it's too costly, since they seemed to have no problem with spending when they were in control on 2 wars and tax cuts for the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

    March 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Riley

    I consider, that you commit an error.

    May 2, 2010 at 6:42 am | Report abuse |