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. Jegg G

    This is retarted! Musically means to slow down the tempo.

    February 3, 2010 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  2. Runofthemill

    All this retarded mock anguish over the word retarded is just retarded. palin ihas been told she should be insulted because it affects her personally, being retarded herself. What a tempest in a teapot. The conservatives who love to rant and rave about political correct this and feminazi that are now all of a suddent outraged over the use of a term that until a year or two ago was considered bad taste perhaps but nothing that anyone thought very much about? When those "stop the r word" poster started sprouting up it took me weeks to find anyone who even knew what"r" word they were referreing to. Another retarded distraction from retards who hope other retards don't realize they have no idea what they are talking about.

    February 3, 2010 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  3. normajean

    The FACT that Rush Limbaugh used the same word over and over in it's most dispicable meaning doesn't seem to bother the peopl;e that are complaining about this use.Incidentally the dictionary describes the word as meaning someone who is slow in intellectual understanding. The slang use of the word is generally limited to nasty six year old school boys. The clinical or medically correct words for this condition are few and not generally know except in families dealing with this problem.SO?.

    February 3, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Janis Alanis

    retarded––noun
    a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.

    it is ironic that someone who most certainly loves her beloved Trig/Tripp, whatev, would never! consider using the word retarded to apply to her child with Down Syndrome. So, why can't it mean just what it means? Can we no longer use the word retarded to describe something as backwards or delayed in efficiency? As, in–the politicos progress in bipartisanship has been retarded due to their obvious obtusity? People, I beseech you, please stop setting these straw dogs on fire and do your jobs!
    You are, shall we say, retarded–

    February 3, 2010 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  5. Rick Beagle

    Much ado about nothing.
    On a good note, she is using her experience with her son to make people more aware that what they say, matters.
    On a bad note, her obvious hypocrisy makes the comments look to be opportunistic mud slinging at political rivals.
    Using your children and their pain for attempted political gain is tacky. I realize people will disagree but that is my two cents regardless of party affiliation.

    February 3, 2010 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  6. Harlequinn Bell

    From dictionary.com
    re⋅tard  /rɪˈtɑrd, for 1–3, 5; ˈritɑrd for 4/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4] Show IPA
    –verb (used with object) 1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

    –verb (used without object) 2. to be delayed.

    Will someone PLEASE introduce Sarah Palin to a dictionary?????

    February 3, 2010 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  7. Donkey Party

    The Right-wing are the creators and masters of hypocrisy.

    February 3, 2010 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  8. Texas Jack

    Yes he needs to be fired. Don't come back now with an apology it's too far too late. The Bible is plain in how theses people and especially the mentally and physically should be referred to. There is no place and is also a sin for one to be called a idiot, retarded or in any other negative remark about the medically and physically challenged. Get rid of this jerk who should not even be in the U.S. anyway. If you don't OBAMA then you are next. I have never see so many unfit people to be associated with the likes of you. BOY DID THE UNITED STATES MAKE ONE MORE HUGE MISTAKE. FROM A USED TO BE DEMOCRAT OF FIFTY YEARS.

    February 3, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. basanti

    lol! republicans suddenly want to be politically correct! oh well!

    February 3, 2010 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. Edwin

    I guess we will see how sincere Palin is about this. She has consistently decried people for using the word, so she should blast Carney for using the R-word. I don't expect her to call for him to be fired (like she did for Emanuel), but she should come down pretty hard on him.

    If she doesn't then it proves that she only criticizes for political reasons, rather than honest ones.

    February 3, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  11. ryan

    It is a misspeak. It shouldn't happen agreed. But if we look at the policies by each party, clearly the Democrat party has support handicaps in every possible way. From in the work place, to insurance reform.

    So, Sarah, you can try to score points, but your party has been pretty retarded on fixing the social problems individual families face when they have a retarded child.

    February 3, 2010 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  12. Al

    I thought when he said retarded he was talking abour Palin herself

    February 3, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  13. Chente

    Sarah Palin is not qualified to know or decide what a is racial slur is. There is a huge difference between "Retard" and "Down's syndrome Patient". Palin's comparison of Rahm using the "N-word" is way outside of the box. Her tone smacks of "Radical Right-winged Reaction" as usual to get more publicity. Her notoriety was and is manufactured for public consumption. Down's syndrome is the result of a genetic mutation. Retardation can occur from other actions or inactions during labor or delivery. I'm not impressed with either Perry or Palin. Put them to together and you got two who have over stayed their welcome. Add to this confusion KBH has over stayed her welcome as well. The only one who had excellent command and should be carefully considered for Governor is Debra medina.

    February 3, 2010 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  14. Dennis Knebel

    OK, let's watch Palin's hypocrisy. Will there be the same outrage from that Alaskan nimrod (can I say nimrod?). The twit was only tweeked because it was Obama's COS, nothing more.

    February 3, 2010 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    actually the word 'retarded' is a scientific term given to people with lower than average IQ scores. Are we to berade people for using the term 'genius' as well? That also a designation for a person with an above average IQ score....
    Come on people words are words and politics should be about actions not words.

    February 3, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  16. tiff of lithia springs

    Is she kidding me? And then you the media let her stay around by letting her be on the fox show. GOD HELP US IN THE U.S.

    February 3, 2010 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  17. Mike in NYC

    Is "retarded" the next word to be condemned to a first-letter-only existence?

    February 3, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  18. KL

    Ok Sarah Palin... What should Gov. Rick Perry do?

    February 3, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  19. John

    What's wrong with the word? I think that the republican's are retarded. If they would listen and try to help our country get back on it's feet then we would be a lot better off then we are now. They are trying to keep President Obama from doing everything just for the sake of the party not the people.

    February 3, 2010 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  20. anon

    Actually the word retarded is used to describe a person with a below average IQ score (I dont know the exact number). Are we to berade people for using the word 'genius' as well? because you know that also describes a person with an above average IQ score (again Im not sure of the exact number). People should care more about actions than words when it comes to politicians.

    February 3, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  21. m smith

    doesn't retard mean to hinder or move less quickly? Maybe thats how they all ment to use this word. This is getting pretty silly don't you think? And a waste of time also. Palin needs to go back to Alaska and take care of her kids. She is a disruptive force in any political arena and basically a lier . Her followers are raceist.

    February 3, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  22. Nate B

    and hypocrisy ensues.

    February 3, 2010 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  23. Clint, Wa.

    But it's OK for the Republican's, they can do no wrong or say no wrong.

    February 3, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  24. Hannah

    I think it is retarded the way these politicians can bicker over the most menial of things. But I guess it's a diversion so that people won't realize how retarded they all are. Incredible.

    February 3, 2010 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  25. Luvinia Knight

    When will our ex-governor stop using that baby to try to score political points. It shows where her mindset is and it is not the welfare of her children.

    February 3, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
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