March 20th, 2009
02:08 PM ET
6 years ago

Special Olympics asks Obama to consider hiring athlete

Timothy Shriver is chairman of the Special Olympics.
Timothy Shriver is chairman of the Special Olympics.

(CNN) - The Special Olympics organization is calling on President Obama to "consider" hiring one of their athletes to work in the White House, following the president's reference to the organization during his Thursday night appearance on The Tonight Show.

“In so doing, he could help end misperceptions about the talents and abilities of people with intellectual disabilities, and demonstrate their dignity and value to the world," Timothy Shriver, the chairman of the Special Olympics, said in a statement released Friday morning.

iReport: What do you think about the president's comments?

Shriver also said the president was heartfelt in his apology, but added "words hurt and words matter."

"Words can cause pain and result in stereotypes that are unfair and damaging to people with intellectual disabilities,” Shriver said in the statement. “And using "Special Olympics" in a negative or derogatory context can be a humiliating put-down to people with special needs.”

Earlier: Obama apologizes for Special Olympics comment

Full Statement [PDF]


Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (274 Responses)
  1. Eugene

    Mr. Obama has already hired Timothy Geithner. No need to hire an athelete. Honestly, let's look at what Obama is doing or trying to do to this country. He is destroying our democracy with his Socialist Policy decisions. We are in this economic crisis because of the poor financial decisions the American people have made. We have spent more than we can possibly afford. This same America is the country that Obama was elected. No wonder he has no idea what he is doing.

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. To Scarlett

    By making fun of himself, he was also making fun of the Special Olympics...quit covering for your idol.

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. mom of a "special olympian"

    I was not surprised at Mr. Obama's "slip of the tongue." We all speak what is really on our minds and, these days, anything is considered fair game in poking fun at ourselves and others at the expense of the innocent. Once said, it is always remembered, whether possitive or considered negative or offensive. A person's "words" speaks volumes as to his/her character.

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. elliott

    well...it's certainly not going to be his last blunder........like trying to have peaceful dialog with terrorist dictators......not very smart

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. Dan, TX

    I listen to Rush Limbaugh a lot, he is rude, nasty, mean, insulting, and most of the time, he's wrong. Anyone who can complain about what Obama said and then at the same time defend Rush Limbaugh is probably not at the upper end of the income scale.

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. James

    Hey people, it would be great if we could dial down the hate-meter a little bit. I know you don't like Obama, but can we please show some civility in bashing him? You wouldn't say these things to him in person – why do you think it's ok to do it behind the anonymity of the internet?

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Gordon

    Your special need Shriver is a brain. Have you ever thought of getting
    a real job or do you feel better "living off" donations. Does it run in
    your family?

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. MD

    This is over kill. Those of you who have all the negative stuff to say about every little thing the President does will be responsible for driving him out of the public eye. Then you will complain about him not being transparent enough.

    These double standards make me ill and the reasons for the double standards are very thinly vailed... You should all be ashamed...

    March 20, 2009 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. To Michelle

    Larry the Cable guy isn't the most powerful person in the world, now is he? You're comparing apples to oranges.

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. sherey

    The President was making light of his bowling skills or lack thereof...he was not being disrespectful to those who have special challenges. Time to lighten up a little!

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Jay

    Why not compare his bowling skills to professional bowler. Where was his teleprompter?

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    First off, why the hell is he on the Late show? Second, his comment was disgusting.

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  13. Ann Marie

    I cannot stand Obama but I do think this was just a careless comment. I do not believe that he makes fun of or berates people with special needs. However, I would like those who are saying it's no big deal to honestly ask themselves if they would be this relaxed if it was George W. Bush who made the comment. I honestly believe that the reactions of many conservatives, including myself are brought on by the out and out hatred spewed by the left for 8 years. Maybe if we all treated each other with respect there wouldn't be this constant tit for tat.

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  14. Gordon

    Your special need Shriver is a brain. Have you ever thought of getting
    a real job or do you feel better "living off" donations.

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. big papa

    CNN, nor ANY other MEDIA outlets hold any credibility...

    ...UNLESS and UNTIL they focus their spotlights...

    ...on the criminals in the Bush-Cheney junta who robbed us blind and murdered innocent Iraqis...

    ...and those on Wall Street like Countrywide's Angelo Mozilla, and AIGs J. Cerano...

    ...who've made off with BILLIONS!!!!

    ...STOP the madness CNN...

    ...STOP microfocusing on trying to bring down Pres. Obama and undermining his agenda for recovery...

    ...and GIVE US accountability of those who've done REAL harm to this nation!

    March 20, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. 30m-Democrat-PUMA

    Sharon,

    What's wrong with you? McCain and Palin NEVER made racial statements against Obama. The GOP NEVER made racial statements against Obama. It's all in your head. The true race-baiter is your beloved Obama. Where was the outrage when Obama predicted McCain would make racist statements during the campaign? Wake up!

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  17. DT

    LOL more people got beef wit Obama what else is new? He made a comment he felt he needed to apologize for thats it he doesnt have to hire anybody if he dont want to...

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. tom piel

    Where is the outrage about the president's insensitivity?

    Special Olympics? References to Nancy Reagan and seances? You let him (actually any left wing darling) get away with this, yet have a conservative say anything like this? You and the rest of left wing media lemmings excoriate that person.

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. Barbara Ward

    As a mother of a mentally ill son I know how words do matter. I hear them all the time in regards to my son's illness. I do however do not think President Obama meant any ill well. I feel so many are waiting for him to make any kind of a slip to try to knock him down and have his ratings fall. But those who do so should tend to their own plate. President Obama has the People behind him. And I am one of those People-very happy with the way he has conducted Our business and how he keeps coming back to the People-the ones who put him in the White House in the first place.

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  20. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    I am disabled and I would love to work at the White House!

    PS–I am not at all offended by Obama's comment on Leno's show last night.

    I knew it was coming from news reports and I still missed it, so I am thinking the media, including this network, used a prybar to dig out the comment from the rest of the hour-long show.

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  21. Voter

    I cannot imagine why anyone who is disabled would ever want to work for Obama.

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  22. Hortencia

    "Michelle March 20th, 2009 12:13 pm ET

    Their making a lot of stink of a litte of nothing. His comments show that he is real people. No one gets so offended when Larry the Cable Guy makes comments about "retards". They find it funny. Even if you work in the field you still make comments every now and then when talking outside of work.

    Find something else to complain about."

    I hope you're joking. You just compared Obama to Larry the Cable Guy? That's the kind of person you want running this country? Wasn't that the issue people took with Bush? What is wrong with you? I would certainly expect the people of this nation to vote with higher standards than merely sticking with the "real people." Lets get Bush back in office then because I think most people would agree he was pretty average.

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  23. Adele

    Don't you people have anything better to do? Blah, Blah, Blah all the time and focusing on non-sensical things.

    March 20, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  24. big papa

    ...and all you other Obama-haters...

    ...KOA...

    March 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  25. Gordon

    To Time............Jesus was born in a manger, not a mangle, you idiot.
    Please God, DON'T forgive me for saying it.

    March 20, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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