By Margaret Chadbourn
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Sunday he is ready to "move on" and has forgiven MSNBC television host Melissa Harris-Perry for a segment that joked about his adopted African-American grandson.
"They apologized for it, and that's all you can ask for," Romney said on 'Fox News Sunday'. He said Harris-Perry's apology "was clearly heartfelt, and we accept that."
The comments from the 2012 presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor were his first about Harris-Perry's emotional on-air apology and explanation on Saturday about the controversial segment.
Romney said he understands public figures are fair targets for criticism, "but children - that's beyond the line."
Last week, a segment appeared on MSNBC that asked a panel to humorously caption a photo from the past year. One of the photos was of Romney holding his adopted African-American grandson alongside his wife, Ann, and other grandchildren.
Actress Pia Glenn sang "one of these things is not like the others," and comedian Dean Obeidallah joked that the photo "really sums up the diversity of the Republican Party."
"I recognize people make mistakes. The folks at MSNBC made a big mistake," Romney said. "I'm going to move on from that."
Harris-Perry, who is African-American and a political science professor at Tulane University, is the third MSNBC host to apologize for insensitive comments in the past two months.
In November, actor Alec Baldwin's late-night talk show was canceled shortly after he apologized for using a homophobic slur against a celebrity photographer.
Host Martin Bashir resigned last month after being suspended by MSNBC for making derogatory comments about former U.S. vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
MSNBC is owned by Comcast Corp.
(Reporting By Margaret Chadbourn; Editing by Jim Loney and Sophie Hares)