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. Marc

    The level of idiocy demonstrated by politicians this year is impressive!

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

    Obviously the corrupt Mr. Rangel should have been looking in the mirror when he used the term disabled.

    Liberals tend to be very disrespectful of others. They will disrupt speeches by conservatives, commit vandalism while protesting in the streets and in general violate the rights of others. They truly are facist!

    September 20, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. APS in Hawaii

    Funny how if I forgot to pay taxes I get hammered. Sorry Charlie, I do not feel sorry for you. And to make the statement twice during the same interview shows what kind of person you really are. Your own words are your worst enemy.

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

    With the problems this country has,

    We really need to focus in Apaling palin, the fork-tonged lady, now.

    People are hurting and Republicans are looking for a way out!




    September 20, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. James From Chicago

    So what's the problem, Palin is disabled, uneducated,no
    experience,animal killer and so on. WHO CARES. The republicians
    are pulling at straws because they are loosing.

    September 20, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Sarah P.

    Poor Palin. She feels insulted. Give Barbie a new lipstick hope she will stop lying from now on.....

    September 20, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Monopoly Games

    From a democrat who grew up in the Bronx New York I must say Rangel has always been toxic to NY. It was time for him to go when he said those awful things about Obama and this just goes to show this man needs to retire. He is out f step and out of touch with us all.

    Now, not to say that nutty with flowers Ms. Plain is not twisted with a 2% ratings on her policy experience who offers nothing to the American people but pimping out her family but Rangel who owes back taxes, gaming the system and who's willing to kick Harlem residents out of their homes these two pees in a pot should move in the middle of the Alaska ocean and just stay there...... forever.... maybe Russia can bail out these two idiots, but hopefully no time soon.

    September 20, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |

    As in devoid of any knowledge of anything truthful.

    As devoid of intelligence, such as the statement that you have foreign policy because you can see Russia from Alaska.

    So, to recap, you are morally, ethically and intellectually bankrupt.

    Feel better now?

    September 20, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. Wes

    Why don't the majority of republicans who have to try and rationalize this and who also think she was simply a political pick to help McCain win demand he select someone who is actually qualified? When you listen to republican senators and members of congress try to defend her qualifications you can see they don't even believe it themselves.

    Palin is disabled, she is a pathological liar who just cannot tell the truth. Every word she has said about her record is designed to deceive. Now the facts about her line about taking a pay cut when mayor of Wasilla bears this out yet again. She did take a pay cut, then within months raised it to more than it was by several thousand dollar. A few years later she cut her pay to what it was when she took office and three months later increased it by $4000. That is over what it was when she came into office. It sure looks like she was planning for the future.

    So you can argue all day whether it was a lie, you cannot argue her comments are intentionally deceptive. Is this really the type of person you want to be in the second highest office of the executive branch? On the plus side I suppose is you get two for the price of one. Todd Palin seems to be the ever present consort and adviser. I wonder if he'll be allowed into the NSA meetings. This is weird stuff people, look beyond the fluff at the substance and you won't see any but a vindictive, scornful, secretive person and politician.

    The good Lord help us if Palin-McCain are elected.

    September 20, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  10. Rob

    It was a poor choice of words. Not really newsworthy. Glad to see his back tax issue was resolved.

    September 20, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  11. DR

    It's like everyone has to walk a fine line when it comes to Palin. If she don't have the tough skin that it take to be VP then she need to get out This country is hurting and the Republican want to play silly season just to put Palin on the front pages so we want focus on the downfall of Wall Street where McCain and his lobbyist want to keep deregulating to hell in a hand basket.

    Is Palin able to learn about the foreign policies or the economy within 7 weeks before the election? I'm sick of this crap CNN, why don't you try to get her on one your shows? And then lets see if she disable or not.

    September 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. RJ, CA

    Do you think for one minute that if YOU went behind your boss's back and tried to derail company policy that you would NOT be fired?

    Oh, I forgot - you probably don't have a job - just waiting for another government hand-out!

    September 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Never obama

    And you want to put another in the white house?????????

    God forbid, just look at our cities with such people.

    This old goat needs to retire. They're all thieves.

    September 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Ginny

    Wow...Governor Palin has really rattled the Democrats. Keep it coming Dems – it only shows your true colors and brings the votes to Palin!

    September 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Unshrub


    80 Million from fanny fay? ????????

    September 20, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. hans

    See it all about name calling. That is the only thing the Dems are really good at. Oh wait sorry they are also good at taking our money.

    Curious why no one is upset regarding Obama's attempt to stall the troop withdrawl till after the election, while trumpeting
    the get out now charge while on US ground. That is playing politics with the soldiers lives.

    September 20, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Nancy

    I don't see how a presidential candidate is responsible for anything someone else says. I don't put too much weight into anything anyone says except for the actual presidential and vice presidential candidates. The he said she said game is very juvenile. And why are supporters calling each other names. You should talk about the people running for office, not each other. Your vote is your vote and you shouldn't resort to name calling or intimidation. I have been watching these blogs for the last few months and I have to point out it's coming more from McCain/Palin supporters.

    September 20, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Hillary 2012

    Rangel did you pay the back tax

    Do that first

    Even Bill Clintons said don’t under estimate Palin

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

    The higher Obama climbs in the polls, the more ridiculous republicans become. The thought of republicans loosing the election is driving them bonkers. McCain is going to loose and their is nothing they can do about it.

    September 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. Moon Maiden from Lake Michigan

    To Big Bear from Ore,
    Your energy stinks.

    September 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  21. ccrane

    Why is this news and yet there's no mention on CNN of the fact that Palin's office did approve Monegan's trip to DC? Why is the MSM so afraid to expose a huge GOP cover-up of ethics violations?

    September 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  22. Lay off of Rangel!

    The McCains didn't pay taxes on their beach front condo for 4 years!

    September 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. bob

    Rangel is a fool and most obama supporters dont know the difference between a factual statement and a literal one. saying she can see russia is like saying it is in "backyard" Not a statement of fact , not a true statement like" I have never been proud of my country"

    September 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. john from PA

    this man should be in jail and not giving an interview.

    September 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. Atlian

    Obama got $100,000 from the EMPLOYEES of Fannie. McSame got $169,00 from the DIRECTORS, OFFICERS and LOBBYISTS of Fannie. Tell the whole truth! Just like Obama' s senate vote in Illinois was 130 times present out of 4000 VOTES. While in the US Senate McSame has only voted 45% of the time compared to 67% for Obama. TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH!!!

    September 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
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