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. Tony

    Will "The Quitter" ask for an apology from this clown or even Limbaugh who used it also. I doubt it. She's a hypocrite. Funny how N

    February 3, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. ED FL

    If Palin had run her life like most woman she would not be the butt of so many questionable comments. Remember the old adage Sarah monkey see monkey do. Live with it .

    February 3, 2010 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. John

    Its a source of both mystery and amusement that anyone would take seriously anything said by an opportunistic showboat like Rick Perry.

    February 3, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  4. Helene

    Why not abolish the letter R from the English language altogether ? Retarded, ridiculous, retro, radical, rascal, etc ...

    February 3, 2010 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  5. Retart Larry

    Hypocritical for Palin to complain about anyone using the word "retarded." Her child can be described that way as well.

    February 3, 2010 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Little Tommy

    She's going down there to help him! Ain't that the kiss of death.

    February 3, 2010 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. m smith

    how much are they paying this bimbo. She doesn't do this for free. Apparently neither do the the tea bagger conventions. All this for profit stuff is just that. Keep following these wing nuts you lemmings. They will take all your money. Same scam as Jimmy Swigart. Wonder when the TV show will start asking for donations?

    February 3, 2010 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Raj A

    This is a desperate play by a failing Hutchison campaign.

    February 3, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Kate in SW Fla

    Palin is an opportunistic pig, dragging her kid around as a prop, then thinking that giver her the right to be the spokesperson for everyone who has a mental disability. Rahm has ten times the decency of that phoney; never saw him use HIS kids to make political points, did you?

    February 3, 2010 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Howdy

    Well, what will the high and mighty Sarah say about this one? Let me guess, it won't matter that it is a Republican who said it.

    February 3, 2010 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. Will Work for Health Care

    Hello... Hello Sarah... anybody home??
    I didn't think so!

    February 3, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  12. A keen observer

    Do you think Palin will call for Perry's resignation? I betcha she comes up with an excuse that matches her own retarded state.

    February 3, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  13. seanm

    I wonder if Palin will express her outrage against Perry. I'm going to guess not since she is such an extreme conservative. Maybe they feel a certain kinship? After all Perry wants to secede and so did Palin's husband.

    February 3, 2010 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  14. Josiah

    This whole thing is retarded!

    February 3, 2010 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  15. GET OVER IT

    is using the word RETARDED any worse than using the N word or any word that suggest less than not the smartest not up to par, Oh THAT WOULD BE SARAH P

    February 3, 2010 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  16. Jim

    Really? With all that's going on, unemployment over 10%, people dying in Haiti, a budget that's way out of control and being worried about North Korea making nuclear bombs, the "news" is that this guy said something was "retarded"? Really? That's offensive. I could see if he said I was retarded, or you were retarded, or you look like a retard, but all he said is that switching buildings is retarded, which, in fact, it is. What's even more retarded than that? Politicians who make a big deal out of words like retarded. By doing so, they show that they are the ones who are actually mentally retarded.

    February 3, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Matt

    How much do you wanna bet this will be shrugged off by Palin. Of course it was used in a completely different context but Palin finds this truly conservative word immoral.

    February 3, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  18. historian

    This is just a good way for Palin to keep receiving free publicity for her book. Let's get on with reporting real news not this junk. Come on CNN, you're my favorite news station and internet connection don't waste your time on this.

    February 3, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Jim Hall

    CNN don't you have anything else to report than Palin. Like more about health care, the unnecessary wars, Haiti, the banks, wall street, and huge bonuses being paid to employees of these firms out of tax payers money, etc. If you cannot find any of the above worth reporting on about rather than Palin at least report on "Bo" the first families dogs activities for the day. That would be more interesting Jim Hall Kansas City Missouri.

    February 3, 2010 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  20. Laura

    This is the most retarded story I've ever seen in the Ticker.

    February 3, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Tammy

    in French, retard means late - into English as late development

    the word actually means something real; no matter how you change or couch some words, they do have to describe what is - not that all may like what;'s being said.

    February 3, 2010 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    This is retarded.

    February 3, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. FEAR

    All these people are retarded. All sides!

    February 3, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  24. Ray

    Retarded comes from the Latin retardare, "to make slow, delay, keep back, or hinder." It looks like the Republican political strategy towards the Obama administration is retarded.

    Retardation signs include:
    Delays in oral language development
    Deficits in memory skills
    Difficulty learning social rules
    Difficulty with problem solving skills
    Delays in the development of adaptive behaviors such as self-help or self-care skills
    Lack of social inhibitors

    I'm just saying, this all sound very Republican to me.

    February 3, 2010 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  25. Will S

    From Merriam-Webster:

    Main Entry: re·tard·ed
    Pronunciation: \ri-ˈtär-dəd\
    Function: adjective
    Date: 1895
    sometimes offensive : slow or limited in intellectual or emotional development or academic progress

    ! How 'bout that ! It's a real word! And it was used in a correct context!

    February 3, 2010 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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