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Rep. Wilson's "You Lie" Outburst Swipes Spotlight

Last time, it was a Harvard man and a Cambridge cop. Tonight it was a South Carolinian with political Tourette's.

When it comes to primetime healthcare homilies, President Obama has a bad habit of getting upstaged.

Just as the president was reaching the emotional apex of his speech, calling out his detractors and staring down some of the rumors that have plagued the health care debate for the past few months, someone tried to bully the bully pulpit.

"You lie!" yelled Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) as if he were a teenage Jonas brother's fan and someone had just proclaimed Miley Cyrus entertainer of the year. (Watch this at left.)

His outburst drew audible gasps from multiple members of congress and boos from the left side of the aisle. Nancy Pelosi donned a death stare that would make Darth Vader cower, and up in the balcony, Mrs. Obama shook her head from side to side. Special Report: Health Care

The president, who had just finished stating that his proposed healthcare reforms would not extend to illegal aliens, took pause.

"That's not true," he responded before forging ahead with his scripted remarks.

When the speech ended, however, a question lingered on the minds of many that had nothing to do with health care. Everyone wanted to know who had heckled the president.

Full coverage of the president's speech on health care:

Obama Tells Congress to Stop Bickering
Full Video Full Transcript Speech Highlights
GOP Response: "It's Time to Start Over"
Marc Ambinder: Will Obama's Sales Job Work?
Mark Knoller: Obama Willing to Compromise — Up to a Point
Was Obama Clear on the Public Option?
Ted Kennedy's Letter to Obama
Rep. Wilson Swipes the Spotlight
Analysis: The Road Ahead for Health Care

Wilson, who was first elected to the house in 2001, is no stranger to oratory fireworks. He drew some attention in 2004 when he accused fellow representative Bob Filner (D-CA) of being, "vehemently anti-American."

Wilson later apologized, saying he hadn't meant to insult his colleague. Tonight, he followed the same pattern.

After his outburst, Wilson's office issued a written mea culpa:

"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. 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."

He also reportedly called the White House and spoke with the Chief of Staff in a further effort to make amends.

While raucous yelling and even fist-fights are common in governing bodies overseas, tonight's outburst was in stark contrast to the daily rules of etiquette that usually guide behavior in the U.S. Congress.

Even defeated Republic presidential candidate John McCain, who appeared on CNN's Larry King shortly after the president's address, called Wilson's actions "totally disrespectful."

Within hours of the speech, Wilson's official congressional Web site was offline and his Wikipedia page was locked "due to vandalism."

The topics "Joe Wilson," "Liar," and "R-SC" also became three of the top 10 trending topics on the social networking site Twitter.

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