September 20th, 2008
01:15 PM ET
6 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. Susan

    Jogn McCain and his surrogates remind me of the character of Rumson in the movie, The American President. The best line from that move is what Republicans are famous for , and I quote;" Make you afraid of it and telling you who is to blame for it". The finger is always pointed at anybody other than themselves.

    September 20, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  2. ck

    And they say McCain was being "sleazy"

    Democrats are such HYPOCRITES!!

    ROFLMAO... you just cant keep your hypocrisy under wraps, can ya!

    McCain / Palin 08 &12!!

    September 20, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Dixon

    I have to agree this comment was not fair. People who are considered "diabled" are for the most part highly qualified and much more motivated to the common good than Palin.

    September 20, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. sacto joe

    Representative Rangel has a tendency to shoot from the lip a lot. Personally, my big problem with Governor Palin isn't her lack of foreign policy experiece, it's her right wing politics. Unlike her Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden, she is FAR from the mainstream.

    What's the difference between Governor Palin and Vice President Cheney?

    Lipstick!

    September 20, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. JK Ashburn, VA

    He was "misinterpreted" he says? He says failing to pay his taxes was a "mistake". His use of Congressional stationery for fundraising for his private foundation was a "misunderstanding."

    Serial liar and a serial crook, like most members of Congress.

    September 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  6. Sam, Muncie, Ind.

    The next vice president? Wow, Republicans are so out of touch with reality, they think they're actually going to win.

    HOW FUNNY!

    September 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. sally

    Wit, sarcasm, and double entendre are lost on the idiot republicans.
    She is disabled when it comes to foreign policy b ecause she doesn't have any experience. Stop the poop – repubs. Too bad your mental capacities are so tiny you really think you can make a mountain out of a molehill.

    September 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Brad

    Why are you all so mean? Why can't you act like responsible adults when discussing this? Why is character slander more important than rebutting arguments?

    GROW UP, AMERICA!

    September 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Darrell Burks

    Leave Rangel alone and let the investigation be completed. He is cooperating. As for Palin – she is disabled – She is the scariest person in history ever put in a position to run for the highest office in the Unites States.

    September 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Bobby

    I have never heard so much negativity and radical comments toward people than I have on this political ticker! The angry left!

    September 20, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  11. McCain/Palin 2008

    Republicans waging a "guerilla war". Yeah he does kinda look like a guerilla.

    September 20, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    Disabled to tell the whole truth maybe.

    September 20, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  13. value

    WELL SHE IS POLITICALLY DISABLED. THE MAN IS RIGHT.

    OBAMA......08

    September 20, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. Here we go again

    CNN, if you allow this nonsense to become the next lipstick on a pig, shame on you. And god help us all.

    WHO CARES WHAT CHARLIE RANGEL SAID, AND WHETHER IT COULD BE INTERPRETED AS POLITICALLY INCORRECT OR NOT (by the way, is the euphemism "disabled" now a no-no too? It's not like Rangel called her "retarded.")

    The question of this elections is how are Republicans going to fix an economic disaster that THEY CAUSED, when they still subscribe to the economic theories and philosophies that resulted in the meltdown? This whole thing is the fault of the unfettered, anti-regulatory "free-market" trickle down BS that the Republicans are going to keep giving us as long as we're dimwitted enough to let them stay in power. ENOUGH.

    September 20, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. judie matter

    I think Charlie Rangel is right about Sarah Palin. For anyone to say they see Russia from any window of there house in Alaska makes them a super smart person on world affairs is really stupid. But I never thought she was any thing in the first place. I got so tired of her saying about the bridge to no where, that she says she said no thanks, its enough to make me cringe. I say Charlie was right and we should tell Sarah Palin no thanks.

    September 20, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. FLDem

    Hey Republicans, would you like a little cheese with that whine?

    September 20, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. Carl from MI

    It's true... she IS politically disabled... and challenged in foreign policy too!! That's the truth of the matter... she's an empty suit!! She has about 5 minutes worth of experience and has too close of ties to that Radical Religiuos Right church with the Rev. WitchHunter!!!

    Her ethics investigation will finish up in just a few weeks, and they will find her GUILTY of abusing the power of her office and GUILTY of lying about it!!! How many lies can this woman spew out before Nov. 4th??

    And as my friend the Nightingale always says... she's too RISKY!!

    WAKE UP, AMERICA!!!! VOTE SMART... NOT SENILE!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Big Bear, Bearden, AR 71720

    The Democrats love to say that Gov. Palin is only a heartbeat away from the Presidency if she becomes VP. My question to you is "Does Obama have a guarantee that he will be alive tomorrow?" I know that everyone reading this does not have such a guarantee, but I am not sure about Obama. If he does not have such a guaranteed, then isn't it of some concern, that Joe Biden is only a heartbeat away from the Presidency if he is elected VP?

    September 20, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  19. Bill

    Anyone who sums up her foreign policy experience by saying "We can see Russia from here" is mentally challenged.

    September 20, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Susan

    FOUR MORE YEARS.
    FOUR MORE YEARS.
    FOUR MORE YEARS.
    FOUR MORE YEARS.

    September 20, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. Rave

    Disabled is trying to be too humble
    I think she is Diabled , Vindictive, Desperate, and Mentally Sick.

    September 20, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Gia

    At least he was honest. He should have said: Intelligently impaired.

    But ya, blah blah CNN. You never seem to focus on all the crap the GOP throws out there.

    I want my taxes lowered! I wanted to be able to afford food! I want cheaper gas! Focus on the issues now please.

    September 20, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 Years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    Call out the fighting keyboardists, feigning "shock", "dismay" and "serious umbrage" at the poor use of words by Rangel.

    Yawn:

    I'm a bit more concerned why Palin lied about why she fired Monehan.

    September 20, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Big Bear, Bearden, AR 71720

    Re: facts are facts. McCain asked for more regulation of Fannie and Freddie more than two years ago. Obama opposed it.

    September 20, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. PUMA Gal

    And if I said Charlie Rangel was at a disadvantage because he is black?

    Score another "DOH!" moment for the Dems.....

    September 20, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15