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GOP congressman sorry for 'you lie' outburst during Obama speech

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C. is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington Wednesday as President Barack Obama delivered a speech on health care to a joint session of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON - In an extraordinary breach of congressional decorum, a Republican lawmaker shouted "You lie!" at President Barack Obama during his speech to Congress on Wednesday.

Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., tried to call Obama to apologize in person but ended up speaking to White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

"This evening I let my emotions get the best of me," Wilson said in a statement. "While I disagree with the president's statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the president for this lack of civility."

Wilson's outburst came after Obama said that extending health care to all Americans who seek it would not mean insuring illegal immigrants.

"You lie!" Wilson shouted from his seat on the Republican side of the chamber.

Republicans froze, with several looking in Wilson's direction.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi directed a fierce frown at him; first lady Michelle Obama pursed her lips and shook her head from side to side. Vice President Joe Biden looked down and shook his head, too.

Obama, meanwhile, looked toward the outburst and replied, "That's not true," and went on with his speech.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said, "I have never in my 29 years heard an outburst of that nature with reference to a president of the United States speaking as a guest of the House and Senate."

Hoyer said he'll work with GOP lawmakers to decide whether to punish Wilson.