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. Really?

    CK: What is it? You don't like your own recipe? Hahahahaha...I guess no ones likes being dished out their own crap!

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

    this guy is such a fraud, it is an absolute shame on this country that he holds the position he does. this guy should be fired from all of his duties, it's a joke. but this is we will get with obama, more losers that cheat the system and rob this country blind and get away with comments like this. why don't you report what sandra berhardt said about palin, I quote her "she should come to new york so my black friends can gang rape her", can you imagine if a conservative star said something to this matter, forget it, the bias in the media, especially cnn is terrible! savage rules, borders language and culture, all of what you are robbing this country of with your bias reporting!!!!! I pray every night that mccain wins so we do not all get destroyed by this left wing liberal already the lowest approval rating in history since running congress, but you never hear about that from you, only bush, palin and mccain bashing, all you are good for!!!!

    September 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Precious

    With that Big Surprise coming in October by the Democrats, will they drop Senator Biden and appoint Senator Hillary Clinton as "VP". Is this "change" possible?. If this happens, can we say that Senator Obama had good "judgment", or has it been the DNC who makes all "decisions"?

    After all the months of "vetting", and final choice of choosing Senator
    Biden", can this change happen?

    September 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Steve

    To all who are committing on the mental state of Gov. Sarah Palin, I have several questions:

    Are you a doctor? When did you evaluate her? Do you have a license to practice? Are you just spouting the party line? I am betting it is the latter! Truth is, anyone we elect is going to slip up and not keep promises, say and do te wrong thing. Its called being a HUMAN! They will fail! Our job as voters to to research who best matches your values. We don't have to destroy those who do not! Just don't vote for them, and leave their spouses and children out of it! Grow up people!

    September 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Elizabeth NC

    'Disabled' does not describe Ms Cheney with a lipstick. More like, distruthful, disinformed, disintelligent,(six yrs, five colleges to get a 4yr degree in Journalism), dishonest, disimmoral. By the way where is the piece about her witch hunting pastor whom she invoked during her run for the governorship?

    September 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. A Tarheel for Obama

    The Republicans are surprised that the Democrats are not taking their crap anymore. We can dish it out just as fast as they can; and when we do, they call us foul.... Such hypocrites!

    September 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. Spin Dr.

    The Dems are afraid of a powerful woman. Margaret Thatcher was critized for not having enough foreign policy experience, too. And what, pray tell, foreign policy experience does Barak Obama have?

    September 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. suze

    he only said what so many of us are thinking.

    September 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Seattle Sue

    If Mrs Palin has said she can see Russia from her home in Wasilla, Ak., then she is one of the biggest liars in America. Please note that I said IF she said that. It is impossible for anybody to see Russia from Wasilla,Ak

    September 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. voter

    Why is it that Republican's can avoid answering any questions about questionable activities ? Laws don't apply to them ?

    September 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Informed

    Rangel was out of line with this comment. Who cares what he says. He is not a representative of Obama/Biden campaign. Let's not forget that it is the McCain/Palin campaing who has been the perpetuating official lies on the air and on the campaign trail everyday. I am a registered republican and am completely disgusted with how the party has taken this election down a rat hole.

    September 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Hannah

    Rangel and Rove periodically say something inflamatory to get into the news. In the meantime, both parties are using the current financial crisis to milk the taxpayer and reward their rich friends in banking and insurance.

    This is the modern equivalent of 'bread and games'. Don't fall for it.

    September 20, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Sharon from B.C.

    I do agree but perhaps it could have been said differently. I also believe that Gov Palin will NOT take part in the debate. I think she will quit maybe next week or even closer to her debate. I think this has all been planned ahead of time. She has charged up the base and someone will come in and take it away.
    If she goes to the debate then I feel she has been given the questions. In the few questions she has been asked ,the responses have not been good. Please post this.

    September 20, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. Bill

    Seriously Democrats cannot understand how anybody could not agree with them 100% of the time. They seem incapable of understanding that not everyone thinks like them. They are so in lock step with their Leader that the comparisons to what happened in the 1930's is remarkable. Anybody that opposes them must be an unintelligent subhuman and if they had their way locked up in some sort of concentration camp.

    September 20, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Lissa in Montreal

    Sure people say things that don't come off as the brightest things to say, but Palin doesn't need defending – she has shown her inability (note: not DISability) to handle questions, the truth, or the 2nd chair to the presidency – she isn't disabled. She's INabled. And sadly, at the hands of the GOP, ENabled.

    September 20, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  16. Rhonda from SC

    Palin can see Russia from Alaska...OOOH now she can spy on them and come back and tell us all their foreign secrets! She can hear them too, right?

    Palin should have disabled her mouth from saying something so stupid!

    September 20, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Bob Coleman

    What makes a someone a "DIE HARD DEMOCRAT" like Ms. Democrat, above?

    I've been thinking about this for some time now. A die hard democrat is AT LEAST recognizing a strong commitment to equality and fairness. If so, then let's discount the fact that most of you agree with derogatory comments to disabled people. That doesn't seem equality focused, and certainly doesn't seem fair.

    If DIE HARD DEMOCRATS don't care about fairness and equality, then that SCARES me. In fact, such "die hard dems" remind me of die hard republicans- you know, the kind who voted for Reagan, but are also comfortable with Bush (which are two different parties, really).

    September 20, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Get Real Larry

    In response to Larry who posted "Leave it to a Democrat to justify anything and everything !!"

    That statement as no basis in fact.

    Dems turn on other Dems in a split second.

    Republicans would vote for a cardboard cut out of Reagan if it ran for President.

    September 20, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. malclave

    According to the Obama camapign, the presidential candidate is responsible for anything stated by anyone who supports him. It doesn't even matter if the statement is in context or not.

    Given that fact, Obama is pure scum for this statement, and only hateful, despicable, intolerant, pathetic excuses for human beings would support him.

    September 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. nate

    As a NYCer, I agree Charlie is old and out of touch. Still when you ask a VP candidate about her foreign policy exp and she says I can see Russia from my that a joke?

    September 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Kathy

    I think Charlie's wife is the one that is disabled, as she was the one who took care of his taxes, or so he says. Typical Obama supporter, runs his racist, sexist mouth.

    September 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. annie - former democrat

    This stupid corrupt criminal is himself disabled to be a truthful working politician for the taxpayers rather than lining his pockets! If pukelosi cared anything, even 1/10 of 1% for the American taxpayers she would have dismissed him. Oh, that's right, has pukelosi got her new paid for by the American taxpayers jet?

    Hey dems did the little woman gov. from Alaska scare you?

    September 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. Larry

    McCain made a poor political choice in selecting Palin and now has to live with it.

    September 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Larry

    Palin lied again

    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.

    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 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Susan

    The nasty remarks on this site are uncalled for. Charlie Rangle has played the race card and has been corrupt in DC, That is what DC is about.
    It is about time someone reports the FACTS about Obama Biden, McCain and Palin.
    I MEAN FACTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    No so called reporter ever just states the FACTS. Give us a resume on each person running, Then let us see on our own who is the best person for the job.

    I bet the Liberals would not want to just look at the facts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I


    September 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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