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. Hoang Lee

    He is right !!!
    Palin wants to be VP , we have too many smart women in the US--
    Dream on ,you are corrupted governor ,trooper gate case still on.

    You can see Russia from your house .YOU ARE DUMB BARBIE!!!!!!

    you're disgrace to women

    September 20, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  2. jILL

    Hey, facts are fats. She IS disablesd

    September 20, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Precious

    As a woman, I believe Sarah Palin is a wonderful and humble woman, and I do have a great respect for her, Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama.

    As an Independent, I also have a great respect for Barack Obama and John McCain

    I wonder what it would be like to have John McCain as "President", Barack Obama as "Vice President", and Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin in their "Cabinet".

    I guess I will continue to dream of a bright future, but keep holding on to my "faith", since my "faith" is the hope that will bring me through it all.

    September 20, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  4. JeffRob

    Rangel is absolutely correct, and he should have responded to the mock outrage by saying: "She is obviously not disabled physically or mentally, but her policies are completely disabled, literally retarded by an allegiance to a shallow neoconservatism, handicapped, unhealthy, of a dying breed, freakish in their ignorance, and 100% wrong for America."

    That's what he should have said.

    September 20, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Kara

    Hey, I'll second that!

    September 20, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. narie

    How can any normal woman support Obama and his campaign. First they insult her for being a working mother, then they say she isn't a good mother, Obama himself calls her a pig, and please don't say he didn't, he knew exactly what he was saying, they call her a bit of fluff, the mock her handicapped child, they trash her pregnant teen age daughter, is this what women want. Obama has few women on his staff than McCain, and he pays them less than he pays his male employees. Obama has no respect for women, he demeans them whenever he can, just ask Hillary Clinton. Again what woman would vote for this man, so he says he's pro choice, his voting record of 8 present votes pertaining to a woman's right to choose says otherwise, as well as his recent approval of a ruling limiting a woman's access to abortion. So he's pro choice, he's anti woman!

    September 20, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  7. high school student making a difference

    You have got to be kidding me. Way to miss it completely GOP. Just keep on distort things... it only makes you look bad. And I don't particularly care for Rangel personally but what he said was true.

    BO-JO 08

    September 20, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  8. Patrick

    "Before all the sick democrats on this Ticker agree with Rangels, he is what is wrong with DC"

    No what is wrong with DC is republicans who never EVER practice what they preach.

    Free market!? HA! Only on Monday and only for Lehman.... now taxpayers own an insurance company and it looks like welfare for corporations is now the norm.

    ... and it's only going to cost us $ 700 billion dollars...

    Lets see... national debt $ 9.676 trillion dollars plus another 700 billion is that 10.376 trillion dollars in debt?

    September 20, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  9. Bulldog

    OH no, poor Sarah. If she can't take the heat get out of the kitchen like Hillary says. Quit whining Sarah, you are in the big leaques now. This isn't your campaign for mayor or governor of one of the least populated state in the US. You don't get to go around firing people in this campaign just because they don't agree with you. People aren't afraid of you like they were in Alaska. You're playing with the big boys and girls now.

    September 20, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  10. Palin is Disabled

    Though I am not a Rangle fan. I agree she is disabled to handle the job. Stating as her foreign policy experience, that she can see Russia from her house, rising to the level of ignorance.

    The Republicans is dumbing down the presidency and vice presidency. Each year they lower the qualifications for the commander and co-commander in chief.

    The McCain/Palin administration [god forbid] would be worse that Bush/Cheney. The veil of secrecy already exist and their attempt to block troopergate–is insulting to the American people.

    September 20, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  11. Cynt

    Okay, I think the McCane camp needs to put on thier "big-girl undies" they appear to be a tad too "sensitive." Perhaps it is better stated:


    "Thanks but NO thanks!"

    September 20, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  12. Boss Marston

    Isn't Rangel OLDER than McCain? Maybe he has a bit of dementia or memory loss – forgetting about income, forgetting to report it, forgetting that 0bama has accomplished close to nothing and confusing 0bama's European vacation for foreign policy experience.

    September 20, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  13. the Economy_is _strong

    Hey from my appartment, i can see planes flying in the sky....
    Does that makes me a pilot?

    September 20, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. John from NC

    Just looking at the comments posted here, I can tell you that the attitudes I see are precisely what's wrong with politics in this country. Too much hate and rancor. We aren't content to disagree with one another; The opposition must be "disabled", "retarded", or "out of their minds". The hateful things people say behind the anonymity of the internet is absolutely astonishing. And I'm not just pointing fingers at Obama supporters...Both sides engage in this nonsense.

    Neither Obama nor McCain will change politics in this country if we don't have the emotional and intellectual self control to change how we perceive and engage in it ourselves.

    September 20, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Annie

    Bobby, in all fairness, there's a lot of ugliness coming from both sides of the politicial arena here. The angry left is just as angry as the angry right, and by God, we all have the right to be. Look what's going on.

    September 20, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  16. Larry

    Leave it to a Democrat to justify anything and everything !!

    September 20, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. Rave

    Mr. Obama , I am waiting to see you as the President of United States of America and wipe out the terrorists from Afghanistan, Pakistan. Bomb the S out of them. They are growing , while we are blinded in this senseless war in Iraq.
    McCain is nothing but Talk...He cannot chase Bin Laden to the gates of hell...
    Only you can do that Sir... Torch that M.F. Bin Laden and all his cavemen.
    OBAMA (2008 -16)

    September 20, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Drew

    Sarah Palin NEVER said that seeing Russia from her house gave her foreign policy experience. She casually mentioned that fact during an interview, and the Democrats/liberals took that and ran with it. It's out of context, just like many other things you stupid Democrats repeat without knowing the facts.
    McCain/Palin '08

    September 20, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. mitchell

    she's not disabled. her religious views are just warped beyond anything i've ever seen as a christian. we dont need leaders who speak in tongues. we need leaders who speak english and truth

    obama/biden '08.

    September 20, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. mitchell

    not disabled. stoopid.

    September 20, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Chut Pata

    Anyone taking 6 years to grad, and calls her self a dog with lipstick, can be suspected of being mentally disabled.

    However it seems what he meant was that like disabled people, you can take attacks from Sara Palin but you can not attack back because then it would be sexist!!! You can not even criticise McCain without being afraid that it will still be taken as an insult to Sarah.

    That is the fear he was talking about.

    September 20, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Salida

    Hillary Sent me!

    Vote McCain/Palin 08 so that Hillary gets to be president in '12.

    Hillary Supports, do not be fooled, this man has no respect whatsoever for women. Remember how he treated Hillary? He did not talk up for Bill when he was accused of being racist? He will do anyting to get elected. NO way, NO how, NO Obama!

    September 20, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  23. TJS

    Rangel should be dealt with like a regular American that avoids paying their taxes. Believe me they don't let us get away with the excuses he uses. All you that keep calling Gov. Palin an idiot, my question is what has she done that proves she is an idiot? All I saw from the day she entered in, was trying to crucify her. I don't blame her for avoiding the press, she was never given a chance. Just because she is not a Washington "insider" does not make her an idiot. In my opinion, just the opposite. You see where the big lawyers, etc. have gotten us. Guessing alot of people really don't want real change, huh?

    September 20, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  24. Stacey

    Palin is mentally disabled. And, not fit to run our country!

    September 20, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  25. Hillary Voter for Obama

    To Big Bear – Yes, Joe Biden is also 'just a heartbeat away' from the Presidency. That's exactly why Obama/Biden will ultimately be elected in November.

    September 20, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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