February 3rd, 2010
08:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Top Perry aide used 'R' word, Hutchison campaign alleges

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for a third term but faces two Republican opponents.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry is running for a third term but faces two Republican opponents.

Washington (CNN) – Sarah Palin caused a stir this week when she demanded that President Obama fire his Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for using the word "retarded" to describe Democrats opposed to the administration's health care plans.

Now that Palin is headed to Texas to campaign for Gov. Rick Perry in his re-election bid, the campaign manager for Perry's rival Kay Bailey Hutchison is alleging that a top Perry aide used the very same term during a recent conference call.

Terry Sullivan, Hutchison's campaign manager, told CNN that Perry consultant Dave Carney dropped the "R" word repeatedly during a recent planning call between the three gubernatorial campaigns to walk through logistics for their Jan. 14 debate in Denton. The third candidate in the Republican primary is former Wharton County GOP chairwoman Debra Medina.

According to Sullivan, Carney became "bombastic and agitated" when he learned that one of the candidate holding rooms would be in a separate building from the debate venue. (Perry's team eventually got the holding room they wanted.)

"That's just retarded," Carney said when he learned about the holding room location, according to Sullivan. "That's the most retarded thing I've ever heard."

Sullivan said Carney used the word once again minutes later as the camps discussed how the debate footage would be used after the forum.

A spokesman for Perry did not respond to a request for comment on the call, nor did an aide to Palin, who is heading to Texas on Sunday to appear with the governor.

The executive producer of the debate, Rick Thompson of public television station KERA, would not comment on the conference call, telling CNN that "all pre-debate discussions and negotiations are confidential."

Sullivan said he was not under the impression that the call was confidential.

Palin, whose youngest son Trig has Down Syndrome, wrote on her Facebook page Monday that the word "retarded" is "a slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities." She said Emanuel's use of the term, first reported in a Wall Street Journal article, was "unacceptable" and "heartbreaking."


Filed under: 2010 • Kay Bailey Hutchison • Popular Posts • Rick Perry • Sarah Palin • Texas
soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. FRANK, LAS VEGAS

    But Palin won't say anything about that because he's a repuglican. She is so transparent, just lies and typical GOP tactics.

    February 3, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Preston kk

    Kermit the frog look at sara palins family they are all screwed up and the gop loves her give me a break

    February 3, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Ruth

    Maybe we should fire him. Ask quiter Palin about THAT. She seems to have all the wrong answers.

    February 3, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. KD

    Oh, now will MS. Hypocrisy herself ask for his resignation too?

    February 3, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  5. EKE

    So Palin's a hypocrite? Who would have guessed that?

    February 3, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  6. D

    Where's the fake outrage now Sarah?? Oh, I forgot you have no integrity. My bad..

    February 3, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. Chris in CA

    This whole thing is just wicked retarded. Its just another example of these talking heads wasting the people's time and money for small amounts of attention instead of getting the real work done.

    If you hadn't noticed, Palin has finally been absent form our computers and televisions lately so I guess she got lonely and needy and had to stir things up again.

    Stop wasting our time, Sarah!

    February 3, 2010 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Ndubueze Chuku

    So, we should delete the word retarded from the dictionary because Sarah Palin's child is retarded. Sarah Palin is retarded to think that the word will be abolished because of her family.

    February 3, 2010 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Shelly

    The entire GOP is R.....party of NO. They have nothing, not a clue, nada, zero understanding of the American people's needs.

    February 3, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. Stop the Nonsense

    He did not call a person "retarded" he called a location retarded.
    There is such a word! He was not necessarily referring to a metaly challenged individual.
    Enough of this nonsense.

    February 3, 2010 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  11. Nevada dude

    Sarah Palin is a retard

    February 3, 2010 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Shmoe Joe

    Perhaps Sarah Plain took offense to Emmanual's comment because she thought he was referring to HER. If terards are so wonderful, let them set policy. Apparently, that is what happened during the McCain campaign.

    February 3, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  13. Ferris

    Palin ... Palin .... Are you here Sarah ..... or are your sensibilities only offended when you can trash a democrat?

    I'm not hearing you condemn the campaign of Rick Perry.

    February 3, 2010 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  14. B Lewis in Austin

    If this is true, then we will see if Palin is genuinely supporting her cause for those with disabilities. In all likelyhood, she only gets agitated if a Democrat utters some words that offends her. We'll see her true colors now.

    February 3, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. LW

    Nanny, nanny....no sir...yes sir. Grow up! I guess from now on–because there are people watching and critiquing every word–politicians need to have everything they say transcripted and run by the word police. Let's try working on bipartisanship instead, and perhaps getting some actual work done!

    February 3, 2010 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  16. ICARE - countdown to 2011

    God Help Us.... There are 300 million americans. I KNOW that there's got to be a lot more qualified and brilliant Americanos out there....

    Please come out and save America, wherever you are.....

    February 3, 2010 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  17. Betty

    This this word "retarded" is such a demeaning word, here is a good remark for you democrats. Please tell me JUST one democrat that is not retarded?? When you look at Pelosi, it is so obvious that she has a mental problem. When she sucks on her teeth (I watched her very closely during the SOTU speech,) she turned my stomach. If her teeth are too big, see her denture dentist or leave the nasty things at home.
    I have an autistic granddaughter, her IQ is at the genius level, I must never hear anyone (especially those nit wits that are trying to destroy our country) refer to any disabled child as a retard, I definatly will sue whoever makes the remark if it takes every dime I have. Betty

    February 3, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  18. Rennee' Hernandez

    Well Sarah it looks like that particular word is used on both sides of the aisle. Should Gov. Perry fire the aide in question as you've demanded of the President to fire Rahm Emmanuel?

    February 3, 2010 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  19. Nunya

    But he is Republican and agrees with her on so many things, so it can be overlooked.

    Hypocrite.

    February 3, 2010 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Albert R., L.A., CA

    What is the problem? No one is saying "F-ing mentally retarded" but only "F-ing retarded" and that is a whole different group of people who are not disabled but just really F–ing stupid.

    February 3, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  21. Henry Miller, Libertarian, Cary, NC

    All these people sound like five-year-olds threatening to tell mommy that Tommy said a baaaaad word!

    February 3, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  22. GOPBslapper

    Ironic that Palin resents people using the word when in fact a majority of Americans think she and her supporters are.

    February 3, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Nick , California

    Ha ha ha ha... politics is so much more entertaining then day time TV!!! Hypocrites!!!!!

    February 3, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  24. Dumbasrocks [R]s

    I think we should use the word 'neo-tard' for all these birth-bagging, Rush-worshiping, demogoguing rightwing lamebrains.

    Given the mental vaccum it takes to be a [R] today, I agree with Palin that it would indeed be "a slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities" to elevate the rightwing underbelly of this nation to merely "retarded".

    February 3, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. kathy

    This stupidity of going back and forth with the he said she said regarding the "R" word is ridiculous! This is just the nonsense that the President cited in his State of the Union Address to the nation last week.........petty!.....it's so juvenile and if these same people chose point fingers and squawk about trivial crap..they need not be in politics. As for Palin..she is nothing more than a trouble maker....she is clueless and is seeking more than her 15 minutes of fame...she's a wash up!

    February 3, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
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