(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Embracing a spirit of reconciliation, President Obama today said he accepts the apology offered by Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who shouted "You lie!" during Mr. Obama's address to Congress last evening.
"I'm a big believer that we all make mistakes," said the president in response to a reporter's question during a photo op at the end of a Cabinet meeting.
"He apologized quickly and without equivocation and I'm appreciative of that," said Mr. Obama.
The president said he would "absolutely" be willing to take a phone call from Wilson. "I speak to everybody," he said.
On Capitol Hill today, Wilson said that at the direction of Republican leaders last night, he immediately called the White House to offer an apology for his excited utterance doubting the president's veracity when he said his health care plan would not provide coverage for illegal immigrants.
Mr. Obama said he wants political figures to be able to have a conversation about important issues "without vitriol, without name-calling, without the assumption of the worst in other peoples' motives."
"I hope some of the fever breaks a little bit," said the president. And he urged the news media to help it along by "not giving all the attention to the loudest or shrillest voices."
Doubtful, Mr. President. Doubtful.
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Mark Knoller is a CBS News White House correspondent. You can read more of his posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow him on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/markknoller.
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