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Congressman who shouted 'You lie!' at Obama will sit with Democrats

By Paul Courson, CNN
  • Rep. Joe Wilson was criticized by both parties for his outburst during 2009 Obama speech
  • He apologized at the time, calling his comment "inappropriate and regrettable"
  • He'll sit with two Democrats during Tuesday's State of the Union address, spokesman says
  • Reps. Susan Davis of California and Madeleine Bordallo of Guam invited Wilson to sit with them

Washington (CNN) -- A Republican congressman who unexpectedly participated in President Obama's health care speech in 2009 by heckling the chief executive says he will be flanked by two Democrats on Tuesday night to show his willingness to work with the opposition party.

Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted "You lie!" during the president's address on health care in September 2009. The chief executive had just denied that illegal immigrants were covered in his proposed health care plan.

Wilson apologized for his outburst that night, but came under widespread criticism from both parties for what was seen as disrespect.

In a written statement at the time, Wilson said, "This evening, I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president's remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill."

2009: Congressman Joe Wilson speaks

Wilson's statement continued, "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."

On Monday, Wilson spokesman Neal Patel told CNN that the congressman will be flanked during this year's State of the Union address by Democratic Reps. Susan Davis of California and Madeleine Z. Bordallo of Guam. All three serve on the House Armed Services Committee.

Democratic Senator Mark Udall initiated the idea of mixed seating for the State of the Union. Wilson was invited by the two women to sit in the section traditionally populated by Democrats.

His spokesman said he was "honored" by the overture.