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. Carl from MI

    Actually... instead of Rangel being what's wrong with Washington... let's look at the REAL culprits in the Culture of Corruption!!

    Tom DeLay
    Larry Craig
    Mark Foley
    Ted Stevens
    Don Young
    Lisa Murkowski
    David Vitter
    And all those in the Bush Administration that have resigned in disgrace due to scandal!!!

    So when we're talking about what's wrong with Washington... let's make sure we talk about those who are REALLY corrupt... compared to those who's accountants made a mistake on their tax returns.


    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  2. Andrew

    To the so called "last honest man". To say that Rangel is what is wrong with Washington is hilarious considering Cheney called all democrats cowards and traitors. Bush equated the democrats to the terrorists on several occasions. This is perfectly okay with you but this is over the top. The neo-cons are the worst of the worst when it comes to slander and smears.

    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. Candy West Virginia

    At least he cooperated with his investigation unlike Palin.

    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Murry Pretone

    Why in heavens name would a man who has been in the political field so long allow himself to use such language. Obama would do well to lose contact with such a fool.

    Also, the democrats have allowed themselves to be so distracted by the choice of Palen, that it scares me to death. What would they do if we had a real serious situation regarding our government. They have lost their way and need to regroup seriously. Don't attack, tell me what you are going to do to help our country, what is your plan, lay it out for me.

    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  5. Richard

    Sarah Palin is NOT DISABLED. She just has a DISABILITY TO TELL THE TRUTH.

    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. b. Krause

    Of course, she's disabled. Creation science should be taught in the schools? Yup. That not only shows disability, but is disabling to others in the post literate culture. Rangel is precisely right!

    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  7. Patriot

    Rangle's mistake was not so much a bad choice of word as it is the fact that he even addresses a worthless question.
    All outgoing fire should be directed at McCaint-bush. The inconsequential parts will fall if the head of the snake is made to fall.

    September 20, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  8. Nashville

    Rangel may have been talking about himself and his party. "Be kind to the disabled by voting for the mentally disabled – vote Democrat!". The guy is a loser who needs to be voted out of office. He sets yours and my tax structures and yet feels he is above them. He does not pay taxes appropriately and has no room to criticize anyone.

    Typical Dumbocrat.

    McCain/Palin 08

    September 20, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Wes

    I think he was correct the first time, Palin is definitely intellectually disabled.

    September 20, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  10. Lauren

    Is there anything that doesn't offend Sarah Palin?

    September 20, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. Walter, Long Beach

    How dumb can you get?

    We're winning, Charlie. Keep your mouth shut!

    September 20, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Sandy

    To Bobby who said:
    I have never heard so much negativity and radical comments toward people than I have on this political ticker!

    DId you not watch the Republican convention???

    September 20, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Joe in NJ

    Rangel is a lot older than McCain so why aren't people complaining that he's too old to serve?

    September 20, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Annie

    I don't have feelings about Rangel one way or the other, but what would we honestly say to someone who came up to us on the street and told us they had foreign policy experience because you can actually see Russia from land in their state. We'd say "you're crazy," or "you're missing a few screws there." Be honest.

    September 20, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Nathan

    Republicans....Democrats, their all worthless in Washington. Wish there was a way citizens like myself could vote to reduce their salaries from the six digit incomes they receive. The average politician is in it for themselves (money) and will get it one way or another. Greed !!!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  16. Margo

    Palin can sure dish it out, but has a lot of trouble taking it. When she gets in a jam, she plays the sexist card Sarah Palin is a joke and the Republican ticket has become a a comedy of errors!


    September 20, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Amy

    One more point, at least Mr Rangel is cooperating with the investigation which is a heck of a lot more than we can say for Ms Palin and Company!

    September 20, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. BS

    Regarding the financial meltdown, Senator McCain was pretty clear that the he wasn't aware the economy was in bad shape even when Bernanke blew the horn in Jerusalem.

    I hope McCain, 72, will retire now.

    September 20, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  19. Bill in Ct.

    I'll say it if the Democratics are afraid to say it, ( YES SHE HAS NO EXPERIENCES IN ANYTHING), I am truly upset with the bias MEDIA with this woman, they have allowed the republicans to dictate to them about reporting on this woman, if anyone says anything about her they, the (MEDIA), make sure you hear about it or the republicans are all over the tv saying that was SEXIST or some one disrespected Sarah, PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK,. With all the crap they the (Republicans) have said about Obama and still telling lies on Obama till this day, its ok, so now they want to cry wolf. Lets not forget that Palin is all over the stump talking about Obama with no shame and know one says anything about that but let him mention anything about her or sounds likes his talking about her the republicans are screaming ( SEXIST or Disrespectful ) PLEASE!!!!!!!!!. They want their cake and eating it to. MCSAME/PALIN is a joke!!!!!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Larry

    I'm a Republican,however ,neither party has anything to brag about.Both of the options are sorry excuses for the American people to have to choose from.I can see why there's so much hate and name calling,it is hard to defend your candidates.

    September 20, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Nannie Bouroughs


    The MEN in the GOOD OLD BOYS GANG simply don't know how to deal with an intelligent woman...

    Charlie Rangel is simply another Oblama sycophant, with almost as many ETHICAL PROBLEMS as Senator Oblama...


    September 20, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  22. ZANE

    If the vtoers think that the Geezer and Gidget are going to turn our economy around,....think again. We'll have 4 more year of the same. Simple as that folks!


    September 20, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |


    September 20, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. DeLong Spokane

    Rep. Charlie Rangel needs to be reprimanded at the least for that comment. This is another reason the voting american public is so tired of some politicans, when their lips move more than not it's putting down another politican.

    September 20, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  25. barbara

    I support Obama/Biden but I don't support comments like the one Rengel made. But, please consider the source and don't blame
    Sen. Obama. Listen to what he has to say not what others say.

    September 20, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15