Joe Wilson rebuke is pure hypocrisy, claims Michael Steele

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    In a Tuesday, June 10, 2008 file photo, US Rep. Joe Wilson, jokes with Fae Sox, right, as he prepares to vote at Springdale Elementary School in South Carolina.
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And the Joe Wilson saga rolls inexorably onwards.

Yesterday came the reactions, and the re-reactions: Wilson, a Republican congressman from South Carolina, had apologized, but refused to apologize again. President Barack Obama had accepted the apology, and then he accepted it again, for good measure. Meanwhile, folks on the left and on the right sought to get as much leverage on the hot-button issue as possible, amid speculation that House Democrats would officially reprimand Wilson.

Now, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele has said the House Democrats are guilty of "stunning.... hypocrisy":

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If we are going to march Members down to the well of the House to apologize, Joe Wilson is going to have to get in line behind Nancy Pelosi, who attacked the intelligence community who protects us, Charlie Rangel who cheated on his taxes, Jack Murtha – a walking scandal, and we all know how the Democratic leadership tried to protect William Jefferson. Democrats don’t want an apology. They want a side show – something to shift the focus away from their government-run experiment on health care.

But according to a USA Today/Gallup poll, most Americans agree with the Democrats. The poll showed that 68 percent of Americans opposed Wilson's outburst, and 23 percent of Americans expressed "outrage" over the incident. Even a majority of Republicans opposed the remarks, but fewer Republicans were "outraged."

On Sunday, Obama told Steve Kroft of the CBS news program "60 Minutes" that he put the Wilson incident behind him. “Congressman Wilson shouting out during my joint sessions speech was a surprise not just to me, but I think a lot of his Republican colleagues who, you know, said that it wasn’t appropriate,” Obama said. "He apologized afterwards, which I think I appreciated, and I’ve said so.”

Meanwhile, Congressman Wilson told Chris Wallace of Fox News that he will refuse to apologize on the floor of the House of Representatives. “I believe the American people know I’m a civil person,” Wilson said. "I respect the institution of the House. I have apologized to the president. I believe that should be enough.”

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