February 3rd, 2010
08:03 PM ET
4 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. carlos

    of course, she will attack the opposition on the subject matter........she will show up at the rally because she is simply r--d, no doubt about it ...........ffrom obscurity to being still obscure

    February 3, 2010 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. David from Wisconsin

    Palin is now "PC", that is too rich.

    February 3, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. JQP

    She needs to get a grip on reality.

    February 3, 2010 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. andrewstl

    she just cant keep her pie hole shut. it is too funny

    February 3, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  5. once upon a horse

    Looks like Sarah Palin is going to have to go after GOP boss Rush Limbaugh as well since he used the "R" word several times today and said he will NOT apologize for it. If she doesn't then it tell me me it's ok for Republicans to use the insult but Democrats must RESIGN the other "R" word if they use it. This is going to make very interesting theater.

    February 3, 2010 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. tim

    Both Obama and Perry ought to drop their aids or neither. This only shows that Dems are the same as Reps.

    February 3, 2010 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  7. Shawn

    People should stop being so thin skinned. I have a special needs son, and as long as the word is not being used to insult a special person, I have no problem. Besides, President Obama, self described himself as bowling like a special olympian.

    Besides, I can think of no more appropriate word to describe most politicians than the "R" word!

    February 3, 2010 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. Mario Cee

    Why is it that Palin is so easily offended about anything and everything? Did she ever consider how offensive it was to her fellow Alaskans when she just up and quit her job as Governor? Can anyone justify such an irresponsible move?

    February 3, 2010 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  9. Independent

    I guess is more important now to count how many politicians or people working for them used the word retarded the most than solving the problem of 40 million and counting people without insurance and the 10% without a job.... great politics as usual Don't take me wrong I think is not ok. to use that word without thinking who many people would feel bad, but please we have very serious issues in our country than people using wrongly words.

    February 3, 2010 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  10. voomie

    Obama's top two initiatives are the health plan and cost cutting are horrible for jobs.I work for the website Storyburn and the pain from Americans getting kicked out of their homes and jobs is clear each day. 20% real unemployment is getting worse.

    February 3, 2010 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  11. Carol of Missouri

    Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black to me.

    February 3, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. Don

    Rush just went ballistic using the word retard continuously and basically challenging anyone who doesn't like it to do something about it. Ann Coulter has used it constantly. Now we will see if Sarah has any ethics at all. She needs to tell Rush to shut up, to his face, or live on his/her show, not facebook. She should tell Perry too bad and give her Tea Party money to Hutchinson. Fish or cut bait Sarah, call all of them out or go back to the figid North.If it makes no difference what any left winger or right winger say's in defense of their speech, you need to be honest with yourself or quit this Fox gig too.

    February 3, 2010 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. lou

    Retardation is the act or result of delaying; the extent to which anything is retarded or delayed; that which retards or delays.
    When did this become the R word?

    February 3, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. Michelle

    Seriously? This is what politics has come to? People dropping the "R" word? US citizens are paying politicians to get things done... not constantly be politically correct. Yes, they could have used another word. Maybe even should have used another word- but do I need to read about a ridiculous attack by Palin or Hutchison (not a Perry supporter here, either) because someone called someone a mean name?
    When I think of the "R" word, I want politics to be excluded from the definition... not the primary one.

    February 3, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  15. Myron

    So now of course Palin will call for this man's removal, I'm sure, b/c otherwise her calling for Emanuel's removal would just look like hack partisan politics.

    February 3, 2010 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  16. Josh

    Sarah Palin, the rogue, is too stupid to talk, she should shut it and disappear. She is arguably the "retard" of the century.

    February 3, 2010 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  17. Gil Oberdas

    Sarah Pathetic should be an expert on the meaning of the word, "Retarded!"

    February 3, 2010 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  18. Olaf Big

    Welcome to grade one." He called me a retard... Retard yourself ... Am not... You are..." Are our politicians really this dumb, or do they think that we are? It is bloody nonsense to surmise that someone using the word "retarded" has no respect for mentally handicupped...

    February 3, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  19. Ann

    What's wrong with being "retarded"? It's my culture, and I am very proud of it. You are a racist if you don't like my culture.

    February 3, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  20. Ted

    I am sure Sarah Palin will call for this guys resignation as well. Yeah right.

    February 3, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. Ben

    These people like Palin and Hutchison's top aide that are accusing everyone of using the "R" word are acting like little children tattling on each other. I would think that when you act like a child when your a full grown adult that you just might be the "R" word yourself in a politicaly correct sense of the word. Please post.

    February 3, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. djw

    That's what she gets and Limbo used it today too!!!!

    February 3, 2010 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  23. mary

    you know what i have told obama that he is working with devils and they know that rush limbaugh is the head ass hole for the republican party the rest are the ass kissing children eric ,john ,sarah those snakes brought brown a position and they wonder why the terriost hate this country because america is not right still a racist country you can tell just by how they treat the first black president do believe their is some one more powerful than man that sees all.

    February 3, 2010 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  24. Mike

    Unfortunately, the word is used by many people inappropriately. Let's try and not use this word in this manner as it is disparaging to the handicapped amongst us. Thanks everyone!!!

    February 3, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. skeeve

    Really, this women is so funny. I distinctly remember how she was kicking and screaming about how bad PC is... hmmm clearly the concept of logic is not known to Palin.

    February 3, 2010 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
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