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. jed

    Scott Tucson, um..... were trying to imply that democrat and ethic violations are the same thing? if so, please do yourself a favor and look up oxymoron, moron.

    September 20, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  2. DB

    while an unfortunate use of words, Palin is the most truth-disabled person ever to hit the political scene and I didn't think anyone could beat Cheney.

    September 20, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  3. Cam

    Big Bear above: regarding being concerned about Biden being a heartbeat away from the Presidency......Why would anyone worry about this? I mean, he has extensive foreign policy and domestic policy experience. The reason people fear Palin being a heartbeat away is because she is a liar, a corrupt politician, and has absolutely no experience in foreign affairs and very little in domestic policy experience. This is not a good combination for VP or POTUS. Think Bush/Cheney........

    September 20, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. MJK - Chicago

    I love how the Dems are actually embracing Charlie Rangel as their voice. It might be a good idea to have someone who is currently NOT under investigation for tax evasion speak out on your party's cause.

    If Dems are comfortable having Rangel represent them this nation will be in serious trouble if Obama is elected.

    September 20, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. Will - OKC

    Rangel is clearly a stooge for the Clintons, and after the revelations of his illegal tax evasion he is going all out to try and sully Obama's candidacy.

    As someone else pointed out, he is definitely what is wrong with DC and is the epitome of someone who has been in Washington long enough that he now considers himself untouchable.

    September 20, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. YakRob

    He IS part of what's wrong with our government, but so is SHE. The issue is who, of the two candidates for POTUS, has the potential to help US change what's wrong with our government – my bet is on Obama.

    September 20, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  7. Bill

    Democrats have no sympathy for any disabled person. If you oppose them you must be disabled. They abort any human being that may be imperfect to begin with and will look to eliminate and brain wash any individual that stands up to them. The future of humanity is in jeopardy.

    September 20, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Juge

    Deficient, ignorant, knowledge challenged =s disabled when you are running for VP of USA. Rangel is right, although anything he said about THAT Sarah would have been jumped on by the Repugs because they are in a very defensive mode.

    Obama/Biden '08

    September 20, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. miker

    Rangel, Jefferson just another coruped democrat.But then being a democrat requires no morals. Say what every to get you elected.
    Attack and deflect. Thats what we will get with Barack Hussian Obama
    Stash the cold cash, don't pay taxes and Blame everyone else. I hope free health care works.

    September 20, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. mary cleveland, ohio

    Rangel isn't running for VP and Palin is.
    Palin will obviously be held to a higher standard because she is running for VP and running with a man who is 72 years old, which gives her a greater chance of having to serve as president.
    Her behavior in Alaska, using her office for a personal vendetta is reason for her to be sacked. Now, she has made a serious mistake in judgment worse, by having the McCain campaign go up to Alaska to cover it up.
    Furthermore, Palin could indeed be called disabled because, according to Webster, disabled can be a "mental impairment." She has to have a mental impairment to be a pathalogical liar, which she is without a doubt. She keeps repeating the same lies with the expectation that eventually people will believe her, and because if she wasn't lying about the "trooper-gate" situation, she and hubby would welcome the investigation, which they did before she was running for VP..

    September 20, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Lyndon,CA


    September 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. Ms. Democrat

    What Sarah can take the heat????????? She may want to go back to Alaska and take FIRST DUDE with her. Ms. LIPSTICK......



    September 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Kristen

    Drew says, "Sarah Palin NEVER said that seeing Russia from her house gave her foreign policy experience."

    Uhhhh . . . remember when she told Gibson, "Remember, we can see Russia from an island in Alaska" when asked about foreign policy credentials. Remember McCain and Cindy "Vicodin Barbie" McCain tell Couric and Gibson that Alaska being next to Russia gives her better foreign policy experience than just about anyone. Are you kidding, or just running from the painful truth like Palin in the trooper probe?

    September 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. robert

    palin is out of touch, inexperienced, ignorant, and completely unfit for office. i agree with charlie

    September 20, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Art Michaelson

    Charlie is CORRECT. There are various levels of DISABLED. In this instance SARRAH BARRACUDA is morally disabled. HYPOCRACY SUPREME, Here we have a right wing CHRISTIAN EVANGELICAL FUNDAMENTALIST who fights against sex education in school and anti abortion at all levels of pregnancy regardless of rape or incest and PROUDLY displays her 16-17 year old unmarried pregnant daughter and 17 year old boyfriend who got her pregnant on the stage of the REPUBLICAN CONVENTION. and vast T/V audience and the crowd cheers and thinks it is great. What a ROLE MODEL. What is WRONG with this segment of our society who forcefully advertise abstane unti MARRIAGE. What a lot of BOVINE SCATTAR> WAKE UP VOTING AMERICA> YOU ARE BEING SOLD A LOT OF "CRAP"

    September 20, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Franky

    I don't know about you but why is that some politicians from New York are idiots? Rudy, Hillary, etc?? I swear, they are idiots...

    Rangel is from New York, right? LOL!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. A Tarheel for Obama

    The appropriate word is "DEFICIENT" !

    September 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Larry

    Another Palin lie

    Palin, saying she did not authorize the expenses for the travel, cited that trip as a primary example of the insubordination that led to Monegan's firing.

    However, Palin's chief of staff did authorize the travel to Washington.

    A travel authorization document signed by Palin's Chief of Staff Mike Nizich on June 18 approved Monegan's trip to Washington for the purpose of meeting Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

    The document's existence was first reported by ABC News on Friday Sept 19.

    Monegan told ABC that the travel authorization was explicitly to pursue funding for the anti-sexual-violence program, though the document does not state that as a reason for the trip.

    September 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Jessica

    Keep hanging on, Republicans. Oh my, a brown man said something that any sane person knows is true. Maybe they're instituting a "witchhunt" against gov. Palin. Scary.....

    Yeeeee! this is getting crazier by the day. But still, all laughs aside, we need to focus on the issues, educate ourselves, and make an EDUCATED decision.

    Signed MI women in ground zero of the economic disaster...Macomb County MI, where the Repubs are attempting to get people on the foreclosure lists (gee, I wonder who they want to vote for) to be unable to vote because they "don't have an address". When called out, proceeded to deny..... you be the judge.

    September 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. cityboy

    "In what respect, Charlie?"

    September 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. Paul

    Truth hurts.

    September 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  22. Danny in Chicago

    Let's face it – this political ticker is hardly the 'hotbet' of political news and most of this so-called 'news' on here is a bunch of garbage that no one ever hears about.

    This is a good example of that.

    However, I do find myself reading people's comments.

    I must have some white-trash left in me after all these years......

    WHITE TRASH '08!!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Marilyn

    Rangel is not the first not to pay his taxes nor will he be the last. Watch the snowball effect including the mccains and the palins.

    palin is disabled, because she is not really running for vp, her husband is. Remember at the rally she said what the palin and mccain administration will do.

    September 20, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Gail AL.

    The women in Obama's office are paid 77% of what men are paid, does that tell you anything.

    Obama has taken 126,000 from lobbylist
    936 million in earmarks [JUST THIS SHORT TIME IN CONGRESS]
    Voted present 130 times[ HE CAN'T MAKE A DECISION]


    MCcain- Palin 08

    September 20, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. dan mac


    September 20, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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