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. Karlokubacki

    completely retarded!

    February 3, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  2. Laura B.

    C'mon Sarah, where are you? When a fellow Republican drops the "R" word that you yourself have undoubtedly dropped during your lifetime, you run for the hills without comment. You are a hypocrite!

    February 3, 2010 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  3. evman

    This is great, Palin has opened quite a can of worms, Rush really stuck his foot in his mouth. Now this guy. Interesting.

    February 3, 2010 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  4. Dok

    The fact that this is even an issue to be brought up by politicians and the news media....is retarded.

    February 3, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  5. kr

    Sara Palin only gets upset when she sees fit and she is trying to destroy an administration and bills that would help the citizens of this country. She should be consistent with her complaining about the word retarded or just shut up. I agree it is not a pleasant word but I have heard it all my life and I was not offended to this point; yes I do have a disabled child. I believe that she believes that as long as she stays in the media and complains she will become POTUS. She put this child in the media from day one. He is a precious child and I can see her point but we always can't wear our feelings on our sleeves..

    February 3, 2010 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  6. George

    I'm a black male and sorry but I have to support Rush and Sarah in this one. That being said I am safe to used that word around certain other black people. If a white guy were to do so there would be "issues" so to say.

    Yes it was wrong for Rahm to use that language. For Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh ( The H.R.I.C) to do so is different , because only Retxxds are allowed to say the R word...... I don't make the rules....

    February 3, 2010 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  7. lstro

    What are we suppose to do now, change the whole dictionary because
    S hara Palin says so. She is retarded.

    February 3, 2010 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  8. Marie Laveaux

    I am waiting to see if Sarah will unhinge that bulldog jaw of hers and yell blue, bloody murder over this. Nah, probably not.

    February 3, 2010 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  9. jorge rodriguez

    I think both of these people who used the R word must be held accountable and should be removed from their positions.

    Emanuel, Mr. Obamas right hand man, for using the word R, preceded by the word F, deffinitely should go.

    And, so should go this aide to this person running a campaing. Being insensitive to this group of innocent, defenseless people must not be tolerated by anyone in high government. After all, arent these people in the public service sector, which is politics, supposed to protect the most in need.

    If in doubt, simply change the word from R to N , and precede the word N with the word F, and you got something completely intolerable.

    Lets stand up for the R's as they are societies most innocent citizens

    February 3, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. Frozone

    Republicans put the R in retarded.

    February 3, 2010 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  11. ProudLib

    This entire episode is R -word.

    February 3, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  12. Perusing-through

    REPUBLICAN GOP "HYPOCRITE" SARAH PALIN

    (1.) Sarah will not call for any firings in the camp of Texas GOP Governor Rick Perry due to the inflammatory use of the word "retard", , ,

    (2.) Neither will Sarah call for Rush Limbaugh to be fired after he went on radio today and used the word “retard” numerous times and in the worst manner.

    February 3, 2010 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  13. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Yes but that wouldn't bother Palin she's such a RETARD herself.

    February 3, 2010 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  14. Jim

    For clarification purposes, retarded is a medical term to describe slow development. "Retard" is more the slur when it's used to describe someone not too bright. Therefore if someone where to say if a child were retarded or slow to develop it would be a medical truism as in the case of Mrs Palin's child. It is not a slight. However, when Mrs. Palin is described as a "Retard", well hmmm, it probably is.

    February 3, 2010 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. u2canfail

    Now, can we tweet that he should resign?

    February 3, 2010 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  16. Richard L

    More apparent hypocrisy from Palin. Her almost-son-in-law said that the r-word is what Palin called her own child.

    February 3, 2010 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  17. Bryan

    This is the most retarded article I've ever read.

    February 3, 2010 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  18. really?

    Sarah ?
    If we stop talking and giving her space, she will go away! GOP using her as a mouth piece to get people attention. Retard the way he used it does not suggest that he was talking about the disable.... get a life and stop letting the GOP get the best of us. Have we forgotten about where we were last time this year?

    February 3, 2010 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  19. NeedingMoreForTX

    We need more for TX – beyond a multi-year governor. TX needs governance that provides the best opportunity for its future.... Yes, even now when we may be facing a mounting deficit due to lack of foresight, our citizens need good leadership that can turn that tide. Let's plan ahead. Let's bring new engineering to our state government – – preventing a downfall.

    February 3, 2010 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  20. lovable liberal

    The really insulting R word is Republican!

    February 3, 2010 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  21. mark

    This IS "retarded" get back to running the government, and stop wasting everyones time...

    Stop deleting this, if it can be said in your article and movies it can be said here!

    February 3, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. Bruce from Alaska

    Another example of our half term former Gov trying to turn the spotlight back on her. I say so what he used the word "retarded" Do you know if he was refering to mental retardation-did he mention any one person by name? He was apparently angered over something and uttered that word-again so what! Aside from mental retardation, it also refers to an act which delays.

    Sarah, when did you become so sensitive, so PC? Just who are you "palling" around with??

    February 3, 2010 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  23. Brad

    This is such a non issue. I mean really? Are we now that P.C? This article and Sarah Palin are retarded! We have bigger issues to worry about rather than this stupid topic. Do we call them "Mentally Challenged Americans?" That's a long way to go for someone who can only manage one or two syllables.

    February 3, 2010 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  24. Dean Smith

    I hope you politically correct morons leave your retarded ways behind soon. You're an embarrassment to real Americans.

    February 3, 2010 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  25. Matt

    Of course Palin would not dare denounce a fellow Republican. She is an absolute disgrace to this country just as he for threatening secession last year. Who do these people think they are? Jesus Christ?

    February 3, 2010 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
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