Chuck Grassley dismissed former President Jimmy Carterâ€™s claim that an outburst during President Barack Obamaâ€™s speech to Congress was â€œbased on racism.â€Carter made his racism claim Tuesday when asked about Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouting â€œYou lieâ€ during the presidentâ€™s health-care speech to a joint session of Congress.â€œI think itâ€™s based on racism,â€ Carter said. â€œThere is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president.â€Wilson, whose apology has been accepted by the president, has been rebuked by the U.S. House on a mainly party line vote.
Grassley called the rebuke â€œall political.â€â€œIf it was otherwise, they would have accepted where the apology should have gone and it did go to the president,â€ the Iowa Republican said when asked about Carterâ€™s suggestion of a tone of disrespect toward Obama.â€œThose kinds of things are not just casual outcomes of a sincere debate on whether we should have a national program on health care,â€ Carter said. â€œItâ€™s deeper than that.â€Grassley, who said he likes Carter â€œas an individual,â€ not only disagreed with him Wednesday, but said the former presidentâ€™s comments are consistent with appears to be a larger effort to label every criticism of Obama as racist.
Grassley heard the same sentiment expressed during his town meetings in August: â€œThat anything negative about anything about the presidentâ€™s programs is racial.â€â€œPeople who were very supportive of the president and his programs indicated same thing that these attacks are racially motivated,â€ Grassley said.Obamaâ€™s election in 2008 refutes that claim, Grassley said, because without the support of white voters, Obama wouldnâ€™t have been elected.â€œSo from that standpoint, he was elected by the whole country,â€ Grassley said.