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What can House do to Joe Wilson for 'you lie' outburst?

Democrats want to punish Wilson for a breach of congressional decorum. Their options range from verbal censure to expulsion.

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Who benefits the most from the continuing uproar about Rep. Joe Wilson's heckling of President Obama?

Mr. Wilson, of course, is the South Carolina Republican congressman who yelled "You lie!" at Mr. Obama during the president's healthcare speech to Congress Wednesday.

Since then, both liberals and conservatives have turned the incident into a cause célèbre, with the former calling for more apologies, and the latter saying no more are needed. Both Wilson and his likely Democratic opponent next fall, Rob Miller, have capitalized on their moment in the media sun by raising lots of money – over $1 million apiece.

So, the quick answer to the "who benefits" question might be "everybody, to some extent."

The Wilson flap may have become a sort of mini-wedge issue, something that motivates partisans on both sides by its ability to connect with their emotions.

"Everybody's political base benefits," says Ross Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University in Camden, N.J.


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