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. camie

    Seriously, who came up with the idea that the democrats are affraid of Sarah Palin. Are you kidding me? who is stupid enough to think of something like that. the democrats are not affraid of Palin they just don't care because the problem of the country is not Palin and talking about her is not going to fix the issues. why waste the time of talking about her. Nobody heard of her before and all the sudden people should be affraid of her because she is that good. I think the republicans are loosing their minds now they are looking for any little comments to cry about. This country is dying and we really needs to talk about who is going to save it . I'm sick and tired of people attacking each other when the real issues are not the focus here. I think people need to get back to the issues not Sarah because I could care less about anything she has to say. she is not the solution to our problems.

    September 20, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  2. Mike H.

    Rangel is a crook whose ethical faults go well beyond failing to pay taxes.

    I, for one, am so disgusted with the incessant democratic attacks on Sarah Palin–not least of all from the pro-Obama media–that I've moved to her camp nothwithstanding disagreements on several social issues.

    September 20, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  3. alex badme, albuquerque

    Rangells a crook. Can't blame not knowing his own tax code. It only applies to others. He and Hugo Chavez are thugs

    September 20, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Juliane

    Moderate and Balanced, stop drinking so much Kool Ade!!! or jump back in your box and close the lid.!

    September 20, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. JohnJon

    September 20th, 2008 2:15 pm ET 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.
    See, this is what I mean with republicans being ignorant and stupid. These idiots think with the organ between their legs instead of the one on their shoulders. The donations he got from the"" employees"" of Fanny May, you twit, not the corporation itseaf. Why don't you A Holes do a little research before opening your idiotic traps and sticking your foot in it. Man, some people are just plain stupid.

    September 20, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Jackson

    If the shoe fits, wear it!

    September 20, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  7. Mad as a mother.....Dem

    why are we debating that when Ms. Palin voted for alaska not to be part of the united states of america thats more important check her records

    September 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  8. Ms Gunn

    Republicans are grasping for straws, and Kool aid!

    Gallup Daily: Obama 50%, McCain 44% NEW September 20, 2008
    Gallup Poll Daily tracking from Wednesday through Friday finds Barack Obama maintaining his lead over John McCain among registered voters, by a 50% to 44% margin.

    September 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. IWASP-Intelligent Woman Against Sarah Palin

    narie – when John mccain used the lipstick on a pig three times this year in reference to Hillary's policies, that was okay right? (Bet you didn't know that or just blocked it out) but when Obama uses it to refer to mccain's policies its bad? You people and your hypocritical selves, how do you look yourself in the mirror every day?
    mccain/palin = pathological liars.

    September 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. John

    I think what Rangel said was right, Palin is disabled, her disability is the disability to see sense, she says the surge is working, it almost doubled the causalities, she says Bush's economic policies are good ideas, can you spell Lehman Brothers?

    It's like McCain put a bunch of names in a hat and reached in and pulled out the first one he touched.


    September 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  11. Michael

    Rangel is a rotten corrupted arrogant blow hard. He needs to go and he needs to go now. I can't stand Palin but Rangel's comments are way out of line. I don't know if he has a Republican challenge this November, but if he does, he/she has my full support. I doubt the people of Rangel's district will wake up in time to stop this moron though.

    September 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  12. Arkansan 4 Obama

    This is really stupid! They want to bring up that Rangel is under investigation, but so is Palin. At least he is cooperating. Why isn't she? Of course the GOP would attempt to blame this on Obama. That's what they are good at. Rangel is not running for President or VP. So who cares what he says? I definately don't! If Palin did not have a child that was disabled would this be an issue? I really think not! It was one word and if you look it up in the dictionary it could be used to describe Palin and her politics.

    Stick to the issues!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  13. Marie in California

    No surprise there about what Rangel said. Recent reports of illegal practices by Rangel have shown that he is truly an unsavory character anyhow. His comments about Palin are no exception.

    As for inexperience across the board.....let's start with Obama....and he has the audacity to be running for president. If McCain wins, at least Palin would have the "apprenticeship" opportunity of a vice-presidency to learn the ropes. Obama would be jumping in with nothing but his birthday suit.

    McCain-Palin – 2008

    September 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Salem

    I'm suprised no one talks about Palin's Pastor being a witch hunter that explains Palin's attempt to ban Harry Potter from the Wasilla Library!

    September 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. Lisa

    She's not disabled...she is just completely incompetent to be VP and it shows when she speaks. He used a very poor choice of words. He should have said incompetent. He insulted disabled people by comparing them to sarah palin. I have heard that Sarah cut funds for disabled people in Alaska so she is no friend of the disabled.

    September 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  16. nwcanadian

    Rangel is the crook, not Palin, and the average American voter knows this.

    September 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  17. Big Al

    Why would Rangel even want to bring up foreign policy experience, considering Barack ZerObama has NONE. :

    If he finds the idea that a potential vice president lacks the ability, what does it say about the Democrats when they put a socialist community organizer on the TOP of their ticket?


    September 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Pattybilger

    The Fake outrage of the Rep's is just a little overboard. We all know the Gov Palin isn't the brighest and that is what this Dem is talking about.

    September 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. paulman

    What a foolish comment by Rep. Rangel. He obviously doesn't get that his comment was wrong because it was disrespecful to people with mental and physical disabilities, NOT mainly because it implied Sarah Palin was disabled. To say it again, it is wrong to use a disability as a way to try to insult someone.

    It's like trying to insult someone by saying, "hah, you're Chinese!", and then later apologizing and saying, "I apologize – I know you're not Chinese."

    P.S. I am Chinese

    P.P.S. I don't think this guy's comments should be used against Obama

    September 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. Candy West Virginia

    How can mccain/palin reform washington when she can't even reform alaska and is not participating in the investigation? Could one of you mccain/palin supporters explain that to me and don't say it is a dem plot or Obama, blah, blah because the investigation was started before she became the nominee and before people knew who the heck she was.

    September 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. Tainopower

    Obamas presidential advisers*** Michelle obama , pastor Jeremiah wright , partner in crime tony razko , white hater farrakhan , terrorist buddy bill ayers. and other ones. the list is to big.

    September 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. ohio

    it is what it is open your eyes

    September 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Change is coming

    Just keep it up, Democrats. The party of Bill Clinton is circling the drain, fast. Cheap shots and insults will only energize the Republican base and draw more independents to McCain. Palin, though not an Ivy League graduate, has more executive experience than The Chosen One and will carry the GOP to victory.

    McCain/Palin '08 and Hillary '12

    September 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. sly

    Maybe Sarah-come-lately should turn her attention to Pakistan for a quick second. It will add to the razor thin resume that she met a world leader, but we are now looking at a nation that is on the brink of anarchy,has nuclear weapons and a president with questionable mental stability. I think Pakistan needs to be on her to-do list ASAP....Oops Biden beat you to it.....

    September 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Demitri

    McDisabled, McIgnorant, McStupid, McShame, McLier, McChildAbuser-
    you can call Miss.Moose any name you want.
    She is useless so is McDonald.
    these two are a disgrace.
    Go Obama. People are behind you.

    September 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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