September 20th, 2008
01:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Rangel takes heat for 'disabled' comment

Rangel is facing criticism over calling Sarah Palin 'disabled.'

Rangel is facing criticism over calling Sarah Palin 'disabled.'

(CNN) - Rep. Charlie Rangel, the longtime House Democrat already mired in possible ethics violations, is facing a new round of fire Saturday after describing Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin as "disabled."

Interviewed by New York television station WCBS Friday evening, the powerful New York congressman was asked why Democrats appear "afraid" of Palin.

"You got to be kind to the disabled," Rangel, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, responded in an answer the reporter interviewing him later called "astonishing."

Rangel later repeated the comment, adding, "There's no question about it - Politically it's a nightmare to think that a person's foreign policy is based on their ability to look at Russia from where they live."

Republicans, who have already been highly critical of Rangel over his failure to report taxes on income from his Dominican Republic beach house, are seizing on the comments.

"As if achieving new ethical lows was not sufficient, now Rangel is hitting a rhetorical low. Insulting the next vice president will not distract from Rangel's tax scandals," Republican National Committee Spokesman Alex Conant said.

Rangel reported paying $10,800 in back taxes Friday, according to the Associated Press, and complained that Republicans were waging a "guerrilla war" against him.

Shortly after the interview aired Friday night, Rangel issued a statement say his words were "misinterpreted."

"Sometimes in the heat of a political campaign you choose words that can be misinterpreted," he said. "Governor Palin is an obviously healthy person who in no way fits the description of disabled. I meant to say then, and I am saying now, that she entered the campaign with a disadvantage in the area of foreign policy."

Rangel was a supporter of Hillary Clinton's White House bid, but endorsed Obama immediately after the last round of primary contests in June.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. Diana

    now isn't that stupid it wasn't Sarah who said that that was said by a comedian during a commedy skit ........... shows where the democrats are going with all their lies I sure wouldn"t trust Obamah defending America all he wants to do is talk

    September 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. G

    I didn't even understand what his comment meant so I found it hard to be offended lol. Everytime I come to CNN Palin has been offended by someone or something. This is exactly what the Mccain camp wants stupid distractions in order to not talk about the economy its so obvious. Rangel should just keep his mouth shut for now on he is only causing distractions and right now Obama is doing so good. He look so presidential yesterday with his economic advisers non by the way from the Bush team (unlike McSame). Keep on message Obama and talk about the economy the #1 issue people will see how well prepare you are to fight for them and let Mccain focus on silly things that don't matter. Just goes to show how the Mccain camp really focuses on what's important. Please post CNN.

    September 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Penn Voter

    Charlie Rangel, a liar, a tax cheat and just another Driver of the DNC Plantation.

    September 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Melody

    now the media is favouring mcain against Obama. Macain says that health care should be left deregulated as the financial industry and it will be efficient as the financial industry. Macain wants to privatisze social security. Palin talks about being wired and Palin, like Macain has a very poor college record. but the media says nothing.

    September 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. denise grimes

    everyone must stop wasting our valuable time with the "back & forth" that has become a large part of this campaign season.Could we focus on how to treat each other with respect set some examples and solve some problems or did anyone not notice a few systems are either imploding or are about to. I have a great suggestion, how about resisting the temptation to feed the fires and show me how you are going to fix it,what help can you give what do Americans need to do etc. The brilliance of these past 2 terms to destroy a country, a region,a way of life without the slightest remose is astonishing! My sad memories of Vietnam should have been everybody's,maybe we would not be in this mess if a little more attention or intrest in history and it's teachings would have prevailed,not to mention the crime of GREED,Gordon Gheko was wrong then and as long as that urge is not cheked we just wait for the next set of jokers to wreak havoc at all of our expense

    September 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Former Republicans for Obama

    To Big Bear, Bearden, AR 71720:

    The difference is this: Barack Obam chose a VP Candidate who is FULLY qualified to take over if something should happen to him. John McCain chose someone who is not qualified to run this country if, God forbid, something should happen to him.

    If Barack wins and something happens, this country will still be in great hands. If John McCain wins and something happens – talk about a disaster.

    For someone who uses "Country First" as his slogan, McCain sure made a poor decision on his VP Choice. He chose his candidate in an attempt to steal a few cheap votes – Barack Obama chose what was in the best interest of this country. Which one is truly putting "Country First?"

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. pipo

    "michelle is not cute"

    September 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  8. dpmd

    More whining from the 'pit bull' who is o tough-why doesn't the Palin-McCain ticket offer some answers instead a lot of lies and political flack?
    Probably because they don't have any programs to offer that are different from the last 8 years. McCain sold his maverick soul when he picked Palin-what a cynical choice.

    September 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  9. Catherine

    Sarah is a lot like Bush in temperament. Bush didn't blink either before he took us to an war in Iraq. So much for the McWar/Palin team.

    And McWar will do ANYTHING to get elected.

    September 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  10. Gary Chandler in Canada

    HER VOICE!!!!!!!!!!!!! volume impaired?

    September 20, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  11. Shel Bailey

    I agree with him. She's incompetent at best.

    September 20, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  12. CJ

    He must be partially correct; otherwise, the press would have access to freely interview her, and the GOP would not feel the need to try to stifle an investigation in Alaska that was well under way before she was even considered as a VP running mate. Oh, one more thing, how is it that she and her husband are above the law? If anyone else was in the situation of denying a subpoena, he/she would be in BIG trouble, and let us all not forget that a judge in Alaska has already ruled that if she and her family do not leave this state trooper alone that custody of her sister's children will go to the trooper. This rather reminds me of the movie, "The Stepford Wives."

    September 20, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. George in FL

    Obama fans – relax!!

    A Gallup poll today found that Obama has a SIX point lead over McCain. Looks like the Palin pick really HAS backfired.

    I think (most) Americans are smart enough to know that a person who equates foreign policy experience with being able to see Russia from her house should NEVER be a heartbeat away from the presidency.

    Oh, and I totally agree with Rangel. Hehe.

    September 20, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  14. john

    I think your should worry about the law when all this is looked into sure would like to know about Obama getting 80Million from fanny fay you know thats our money why doesnt he give it back no hes only out for himself not America

    September 20, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  15. Bimbo Nation

    i took her brains and i put it on ebay, and on the bridge to no where (four more years) i said thanks, but no thanks. the men who think with their little heads will vote on nov. 4th based on a fantasy of a woman with power and their wimpy little heads will see a nation crumble before their eyes! hey at least mccain will die happy.
    an intelligent woman for Obam/Biden

    September 20, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Baker

    And Obama does have foreign policy experience? The liberals are the best comedy act in town... please keep the show going LOL. Dem's.... their arrogance is exceeded only by their ignorance

    September 20, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  17. Bill

    You know, ever since I heard that McCain called his wife Cindy the "C" word in public I just can't see or hear the word McCain without thinking McHunt. Folks, if you see a McCain bumper sticker or McCain sign try not to think McHunt!

    September 20, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. Moderate and Balanced

    Actually...I think it's the liberals on this blog who are disabled....not Sarah Palin. Of course, half of the posts on this blog are fake...done with fake names by the same democrat who is payrolled by Obama to go around blog to blog trying to fool people into believing there are thousands of people who actually are going to vote for Obama....and we know that's not going to happen.

    McCain will win this election...even if the Democrats manipulate the economy.

    September 20, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Mark, Washington

    Way to take things OUT OF CONTEXT, Republicans! No wonder you're gonna lose this year!

    September 20, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. ket

    Yea!!!! CNN... try to change the conversation after all Obama is ahead in the polls ya gotta put a stop to that. Got to keep this race close.

    September 20, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Diana

    Hey – I am disabled. Don't dumb down, dirty up the disabled by saying Palin is disabled. She's a disgrace, but certainly not disabled.

    September 20, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. jayel

    disabled? more like "unable" – to answer questions from the media. unable- to tell the truth, inspite of the fact that its been documented that she is lying. unable- to be transparent (troopergate) despite promising to be open and accountable. she's obviously so full of it and i'm surprised that the american people seem to gravitate to her just like they did to Bush 4 years ago. Amazing.

    September 20, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Hello

    has anyone seen the news about the economy? we are in deep trouble, it is time to remove the republicans from power.

    September 20, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Student from PA

    Why is it when a republican congressman from Lynn Westmoreland calls Obama "uppity" CNN has nothing on that?!? Both sides should stop with the petty bickering!

    September 20, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Miscellaneous

    If we want to make the best possible choice for the US, and want the presidential votes to be "accurate", the American people need to set aside any past party preference, and use their INTELLIGENCE. People need to leave behind any hype from the media given to either party, and really listen to what McCain & Obama are saying, then make your choice based on that. Don't let anyone around you brainwash you, or impose their beliefs onto you. You need to go with your instincts. Recognize the candidates intentions -who is genuine and who uses political personality or dodgy strategy to brainwash people into winning the election? Who's priority is with the American people, and who's seems to be with themselves? Because those ways will be used throughout the entire presidency, and if they aren't straight from the beginning, then we would never truthfully be informed on what's really going on in the country. This isn't a popularity contest, this affects all of our lives.

    September 20, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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