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. Barney

    "In what respect, charlie?"

    September 20, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  2. Shirley Good

    RIGHT ON CHARLIE!!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  3. RJ, CA

    Well, Charlie - ALL the Republicans would have to do is send Sarah Palin on a one-week sightseeing trip abroad to get the kind of foreign policy experience Obama has.

    In the meantime, as usual, Chicken Little - Obama - is running around shouting, "The Sky is Falling, the Sky is Falling" about the economy. Great "leadership" characteristic!

    What happened to the "audacity of hope," Obama?

    But wait - in a few days - when everyone else has brought solutions to the table - rather than negative rhetoric - Obama will "miraculously" present HIS economic recovery plan. It will - as usual - be a regugitation of what he has stolen from others - and be delivered in lofty rhetoric!

    September 20, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  4. Tim C

    Yes, Palin is an idiot. Yes, Rangel is an idiot. They both have ethics problems, although Palin seems much more dishonest than Rangel. And my guess is that neither of them would be very well liked in "middle America" if people got enough time to hear what they are both about.

    These slipups are what happen when an elected official in a district/state has very little chance of being unseated. They get to say what they want, and their true colors are revealed.

    The only difference between the two, politcally, is that Rangel clearly wants his earmark requests, where Palin lies about her taking those hundreds of millions of dollars for the "Bridge to Nowhere." Rangel is no friend or member of the progressive movement, and Palin is a great friend to the conservative regression.

    September 20, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  5. Kate

    Why are we bothering to interview yet another unethical Democrat politician who seems to have no problem taking our tax dollars to fund his entitlement/pork programs as long as he isn't required to pay taxes himself? His comment was that of an ignorant, uninformed person who couldn't think of anything real to say so he attempted sarcasm. How do people like him end up being persons of influence?

    September 20, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Rave

    McPrick and Sarah Piglin are liers and will continue to work with the Lobbyists. Only difference between George Bush and McPrick would be – It will get much worse under the McPrick / Piglin.

    September 20, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. robert

    Keep bashing her,as I talk to women here in Ohio–They are getting tired of it and you stupid libs are sending more women to her every time you put her down. Here in Ohio will will take the white women before the black guy Please keep your attacks up –you have already turned my 2 20 something daughters into mccain voters becouse of your attacks. all we need in ohio is 1 or 2 percent and Obama loses -please keep your talk alive.

    September 20, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Neal

    Rangel is right.
    Its true.

    September 20, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. HMcGee

    "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."

    I agree with the above comment.

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

    You people are a sick bunch. I hope Obama and all his hate mongering supporters, preachers, advisors and radical American hating friends all go down in flames in November. The American people are on to this mud slinging at Governor Palin just because it's obvious she is more experienced than their community organizer. God Bless America, cause we're going to need it after what this bunch has done to politics in this country.

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

    As a person that has worked with many disabled people it is clear that is NOT what Rangel was saying.He was saying she is diadvantaged in experience, which happens to be true.Now go and hold McCain and Palin accountable for the outright frauds and lies they have been feeding everyone.This was one misguided word and you have a daily occurance of Palin and McCain making a mockery out of this campaign.

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

    "keep attacking palin will not help you she does have more experience the obama and Biden combine. and that scare the democrats. and yes rangel you are mentally disable."

    How does a candidate with less than a full term as a state-level elected official have more experience than a medium-term and a long-term career elected official combined?

    Don't be ignorant.

    September 20, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. obama the has been

    OK ....I get it. If a Republican say nasty things you will be all over it. BUT if a Democrat says something completely stupid it is OK. Goes to show you obamanuts are really nuts! And Rangel PAY YOUR TAXES!!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. McSame

    McSame and McPain need to be stopped. They whine about every little thing.... I am so sick of them chastizing people for speaking the truth.

    September 20, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. p1tey1

    The Republican's are DESPERATE for a story. LOL!! DESPERATE!!!

    "I can see Russia from my house" LOL!!!

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

    Sara Palin is not disabled, Just unqualified for VP, and certainly not for a possible Presidency.

    September 20, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. jt

    OBAMABOTS keep saying Palin is unqualified to be VP and the fact is clear Obama is SUPREMELY unqualified to be PRESIDENT. Palin's executive experience TRUMPS Obama's hands down. Hey Obama is the one who travels with his very own teleprompter.

    September 20, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. IWASP-Intelligent Woman Against Sarah Palin

    But he only told the truth!

    September 20, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. David Stein

    That was definitely inappropriate. You have to say, however, there is this glazed look she has that is very disconcerting.

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Independent Just Decided to Vote for Obama

    Fact is Rangel's RIGHT!

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Jim Crow

    In reference to the comment made by Robert Wooller, West Yorkshire England, even though I am a Democrat, I certainly hope you are now an American citizen, otherwise, keep your limey comments and thoughts about our government to yourself and go back to England. Yep I said England and not UK. If your not an American citizen, then you have no right to speak either way about our political structure good or bad. If you don't like the way we do things, become a citizen.

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. roger

    Good ole Charlie, He doesn,t pay his taxes ,knows what is right for all of us and the only thing that is disabled is his ultra left wing brain!!!!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. milbs

    Someone had to say it.

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. bk

    Rangel has a lot of nerve. The Dems have Obama at the top of the ticket that has no economic or foreign policy experience and Gov. Palin is running for vp and has more experience than Obama. He has bamboozled everybody with his rhetoric into thinking he does.

    Rangel is a crook and should be fired.

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. Scott Tucson

    Will someone please tell Obama there's a presidential slot opening up in South Africa, President Thabo Mbeki is steping down. So if things don't work out for Obama in November he can try for that position and take Joe with him.

    September 20, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
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