"You lie" Wilson did as much as the nearly 45 minutes of Obama's reasoned and measured pitch for a compromised health care plan to help him win momentarily at least a big chunk of the public back to his side. His double digit overnight bump up in approval ratings was a bigger and faster reversal in political fortune than Truman's presidential upset shock of Dewey in 1948. Two days before his make or break health care speech, things looked gloomy for Obama. His approval ratings had taken the biggest and fastest nosedive of any president in recent memory.
"You lie" Wilson for the moment at least brought out a rally round the president war hoop from the bickering, rapidly fracturing, groping Democrats. "You lied" also again for the moment put the brakes on the fast accelerating GOP's counterinsurgency against Obama. In prior weeks, the insurgency had won hands down the public opinion and propaganda war against the administration. "You lied" Wilson even forced talk show anti-Obama ringmaster Rush Limbaugh to take momentary pause in his diesel speed Obama assault and attack Republicans for groveling to Obama. Limbaugh was apoplectic that congressional Republicans forced Wilson to apologize for his loose tongue.
"You lie's" outburst was manna from heaven for the Democrats. It came at the right time, in the right place, with the right audience (millions viewed nationally) and against the right target the President.
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would say that "you lied" had a check in the back pocket from the DNC to loose his lips when he did. But that would be giving way too much credit to the DNC and too little to the GOP. The GOP's long history of shoot from the lip racist and homophobic slurs, gaffes, digs, and insults, always followed by the kind of wink and nod apology of the kind that Wilson gave to Obama was just the latest in the string of patented insults. The GOP has amply proved that it's more than capable of shooting itself in both its feet and torso at the same time.
"You lie" for the moment did one more thing for the Democrats that they seem utterly terrified to do and that's talk back to the GOP. The Democrats tottered on the verge of being widely written off in disgust as the party that badly squandered the political capital it banked from its trounce of the GOP in November. "You lied" instantly changed all that.