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. Canta

    Stop bashing McCain on Social Security...........Since I was a kid some 50 yrs. ago our political leaders have been dipping into the funds for various social program.........such as welfare etc. .borrowing and never putting back..........Why cause it was easy for them to do.

    I could see why McCain solution is sounder than leaving it there to be at risk.

    And who said we would invest it in the stock market.........there are other places one can invest and save their money.

    This is why Washington needs reform..........I am tired of supporting every cause that comes down the pike. I am tired of giving my hard earned money away.

    I want real change – real reform – and I trust the only two people running can do this. McCain and Palin. They will give it their best, they are honest and trustworthy. They surround themselves with good people, they don't hang around people with shady pasts.

    September 20, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  2. sandee in Portland

    Just another greedy, crooked politician and wonders of wonders, look what party he's affiliated with.

    September 20, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. Meka




    September 20, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. Christina

    The truth hurts!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  5. kris in RM,CA

    Compared to Rangel Palin is a crimminal. Uneducated, unsophisticated,a natural born liar,a parent who has her priorities wrong, a light weight who takes her husband to work with her. Who does that? Rangel faced his trouble and resolved it. Palin is running away and hiding and lying about her problems. That is the difference. It has nothing to do with Dem or GOP-it has to do with adult, responsilbe behavior.

    September 20, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  6. Rob

    hello , he's being kind. lets speak the truth . its the OLD MAN / IDIOT TICKET . The GOP must be crazy for even allowing this ticket .But hey , she can see Russia from her kitchen...she's a dim bulb

    September 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  7. alvino

    Who knows what a republican is any more. George Bush became the biggest socialist in modern history this week, and the republicans seem to be OK with that. According to Sarah, she took a pay cut a couple of years ago. Sarah is one of the few who can take a pay cut and go from $64,000 to $68,000. No wonder Todd wasn't too upset.

    September 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  8. Quinn - Houston, Texas

    Let me say it then.

    Call me SEXIST if you want to.

    She is NOT ready to be president.

    She SCARES most Americans who are NOT extreme right-wingers.

    Her investigation is being covered up.

    She answers questions about as often as Micheal Jackson does.

    John McCain did NOT pick her because she was the best choice for the country. He thought she would help him win the election. That's all.

    McCain / Palin 08!
    Gimmicks First!

    September 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  9. david Armendale, SF, CA

    another idiotic comment by a democrat?
    I'm switching my vote to McCain.... NOT!!!!

    Obama all the way, YEAH BABY!!!

    September 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  10. Rhonda from SC

    Of course McCain would want to put more regulation on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; it was designed for the poor. McCain is all about deregulating anything for rich people and regulating anyone poor.

    Anyone who thinks McCain is going to help anyone who makes less than $250,000, or as a silly joke $5 million, must be crazy! He is hoping that there are enough Americans in the world who are not too educated to know or distinguish between his lies.

    McCain is going to use any and everyone less fortunate to try to win the election and then go back to his bullsh-t! Don't trust a man who provides his true concept on the economy initially and flip flops when his is advisors makes him realize “oops, wrong political move”.

    McCain is such a liar and Palin is just a waste of time...

    Obama/ Biden

    September 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. Willow, in Iowa

    Maybe he misspoke, but he's right. Who in their right mind believes that Palin knows foreign policy because you can see Russia from parts of Alaska? Everybody knows that is the weirdest thing anybody's ever heard.

    I think this fear of misspeaking and saying something the other side can use as ammunition is completely phobic. Sometimes you just got to come out and say it. It IS weird. these people are supposed to be literate, educated, smart, even brilliant, the best of the best. And someone says that statement about seeing Russia from Alaska, and just throws all of those adjectives out the window. Let's be plain speakers here, honest, forthright and believable.

    September 20, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  12. BB, San Diego

    Once again a typical far left vicious, conscienceless, and cruel remark. These types of responses are a result of desperation, anger, and void of faith. I sure wish they could channel some of that anger towards the radical Islamic terrorists, but I guess it is in their DNA, and can't be helped.

    September 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. Ryan in Minneapolis

    "I can see Russia from my house" LOL!!!
    Rangel calls her stupid, I call her crazy..

    September 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. bo

    Republicans are desperate. Astonishing!

    September 20, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  15. Kay

    Charlie Rangel is my congressman and he's become an angry old windbag. I love him for what he's done for his constituents, but whenever he opens his mouth, he take a few more votes from the person he's supposedly supporting. He's did it to Hillary Clinton during the primaries, and now to Barack Obama in the general election.

    Enough, Charlie! Your days as a US congressman are numbered.

    September 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. David

    After seeing how the McCain camp ran ads pretending that Obama called Palin a pig, it's foolish of Rangel to make an attempt at wit.

    It the McCain camp had any thinner skin, they'd be flayed.

    September 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Ryan in Minneapolis

    "I can see Russia from my house" LOL!!!
    Rangel calls her disable, I call her crazy.

    September 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. JB

    Rangel is an Obama ally. I can see why they get along so well. Rangel is a crook who doesn't pay his taxes and Obama likes getting houses paid for by crooks like Rezko.

    September 20, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. D.C.

    We are in America where we have Freedom of Speech.
    If it is not liked join Palin's husband and move out if the United States of America. Now Mc Cain wants Americans to pat the living expenses of a man who wanted to no longer be an American- what is with this thinking?

    September 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Lynn:60 yr old Obama supporter

    All day long CNN bemoans that the candidates aren't talking about the issues, yet they chose to post this.

    What about that McCain advocates privatizing social security and health care? Why no comments on the blog re McCain and privatizing social security?

    What about the lies McCain is trying to sell about Johnson and Raines advising Obama?

    What about the differences in their policies on women?

    What about their stands on reducing poverty, dealing with the crumbling infrastructure, education, or immigration?..or anything informative to help voters decide?

    What Charlie Rangel states has to do with Charlie Rangel and he is NOT running for president!

    September 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Lim

    The DNC is disable, disgraced, dysfunction, racist and sexist as reflected by their presidential ticket.

    September 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. alvino

    For Sarah, it is not about the cop, it is about how she managed to get his supervisor fired. That is the abuse of power issue, and it looks like enough information from sworn statements will be released in October to shed greater light on her role and Todd's role in this matter.

    September 20, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Random Dude

    He should Have clarified it....Palin is mentally disabled

    September 20, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. mike

    The only democrats who is making bad comments are former clinton surrogates,bill clinton pratically endorsed sarah palin this week,there is no question the clinton people is trying to hurt obama,because everytime he takes a lead and these polls the clinton people comes out in say something stupid,in the media especially fox news will blow the story up.

    September 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Amy, NYC

    we all know what he meant ,why do we want to turn this word into a campaign issue! Please! we don't need distraction right now!

    September 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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