Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer has confessed to shouting "Baby killer!" at Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak Sunday night on the House floor shortly before the health care reform bill passed, but says he wasn't targeting the Michigan lawmaker.
Neugebauer, from Texas, said in a written statement that he was not saying Stupak was a "baby killer" but that he exclaimed, "It's a baby killer," in reference to the bill itself.
"I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself," he said. "I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill. The House chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate."
Stupak, who had opposed the health care reform bill out of concern that it would fund abortion coverage, has come under criticism for switching his stance to support the bill following a deal with the White House. He was denouncing a GOP challenge to the Democratic bill when the insult erupted from the Republican side of the chamber.
It was unclear who made the outburst until the Texas Republican confessed.
Minutes before Neugebauer released his statement, Stupak told Fox News that the exclamation was inappropriate and seemed to compare the incident to Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., shouting "You lie!" at President Obama last September.
"We can disagree on these issues. ... But personal attacks have no place on it," Stupak said.
"I don't engage in it. I wish other members would not do the same. But we've seen in the last year just total incivility at times, whether it's the president, myself or others trying to speak."