Yesterday morning, Rob Miller was a relative unknown -- a Democrat lagging far behind Republican Rep. Joe Wilson in the 2010 congressional race. Now, after Wilson shouted at President Barack Obama during an address on healthcare, Miller is watching his political fortunes soar.
"Rob Miller for Congress" is one of the most searched terms on the Internet. The national Democratic leadership has singled out Miller for praise. And Miller, a former Marine and Iraq war veteran, reportedly raised more than $200,000 from thousands of donors since Wilson's outburst.
To recap: Last night, Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of congress. At one point, he assured lawmakers that illegal immigrants would not be covered by the Democratic healthcare reform proposal. That provoked Wilson to shout “You lie!” Wilson has since apologized for the incident, and Obama has accepted his apology.
"I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes," Obama said. "[Wilson] apologized quickly and without equivocation and I'm appreciative of that. I do think, as I said last night, that we have to to get to the point where we can have a conversation about big issues that matter to the American people without vitriol, without name calling, with the assumption of the worst of other people's motives."
The Monitor's Peter Grier has broken down the debate over whether or not illegal immigrants would receive coverage under Obama's proposal. Bottom line: The language of all the Democratic reform bills does bar illegal immigrants from receiving subsidized health benefits. But some Republicans insist that the bills don't do enough to verify a recipient's legal status.
Even some of the people who voted for the South Carolina congressman who heckled President Obama say they're embarrassed by the normally mild-mannered congressman's outburst. Still, others in the conservative district that first sent Joe Wilson to Congress in 2001 praised the Republican on Thursday.
For his part, Rob Miller is seeking to to capitalize on his newly-found gains.
"Representative Wilson's behavior tonight exemplifies everything that is wrong in Washington," Miller said in a statement to CNN. "Instead of engaging in childish name-calling and disrespecting our Commander-in-Chief, Joe Wilson should be working towards a bipartisan solution that makes quality, affordable health care available to each and every South Carolinian."
Potomac River exercise sparks fear of DC attack
In the end, it turned out to be nothing more than a Coast Guard training exercise. But for about an hour this morning, some outlets — including the cable news networks CNN and Fox News — aired reports of a possible unauthorized incursion into a prohibited zone on the Potomac River.
Follow us on Twitter.