February 6th, 2010
01:41 PM ET
4 years ago

Limbaugh takes heat for using 'R' word

Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver is asking Rush Limbaugh to watch his language.
Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver is asking Rush Limbaugh to watch his language.

(CNN) - Special Olympics CEO Tim Shriver is asking Rush Limbaugh to watch his language.

The request came two days after Limbaugh repeatedly used the word "retard" while talking about White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel's own reported use of the offensive term to bemoan liberal activists during a closed-door meeting last year. Emanuel’s comments, first reported in the Wall Street Journal last month, were reportedly directed at liberals opposing President Obama's health care plan.

"Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult has taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, 'retards," Limbaugh said of the report on Wednesday's show. "These liberal activists are kooks, they are looney tunes."

"I am not going to apologize for it, I am just quoting Emanuel… So now there is going to a meeting, there is going to be a retard summit at the White House," Limbaugh also said.

In a letter to Limbaugh Friday, Shriver asks the talk-radio host to take a pledge to no longer use the word.

"In my own experience, when I ask people – be they first graders or media figures – to join in stopping the casual use of the word 'retarded,' they universally agree to do so," Shriver writes in the letter. "Most want to go further: They want to understand better how they can serve as agents of acceptance and dignity."

The letter came days after Shriver and four other disability advocates met with Emanuel at the White House to discuss his alleged use of the word.

"We are thankful to Mr. Emanuel for meeting with us today and hearing our concerns," the group said in a joint statement following the meeting. "He sincerely apologized for his mistake and the pain it caused in our community."


Filed under: Rush Limbaugh
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. T'SAH from Virginia

    For EVERY letter of the alphabet, there is a " "-Word!!! Once mankind realize that we are all equal – we are going to continue to have these contraversies!!

    February 6, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. mj

    Levi Johnston says Palin calls her own son retard and in typical Republican fashion, it's OK for Republicans to do or say anything they want but it's an outrage when a Democrat does it. Rush and Palin are giving stupidity a bad name.

    February 6, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. william

    People like Rush are the real threats to America.

    February 6, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Rayne Williams

    So, Rush isn't accountable because he's just repeating what other people said? Wow, that's beating semantics.

    February 6, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Ronnie

    Nothing wrong with the word retard! Rush is a retard,Bush is a retard!
    See everyone agrees!

    February 6, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. Charles Stinger

    Did Rush include Sarah Palin in his indictment of political correctness?

    February 6, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  7. Ed Albert

    I am the father of two special needs teenagers. They both are autistic and were also diagnosed as mentally retarded (over a decade ago, when that term was still being used). I'm also a fairly regular listener of Rush's radio show. I was listening on Wednesday when this all unfolded. At first he was saying it sort of "in Character", as if he were Rham Emmanuel. Then he started using the word so often, that I was really uncomfortable and changed the channel. I'm not usually all that offended when somebody slips with the R-word. I realize that it is not about my kids when I hear it. However, I must say that the repeated, intentional use of it that day was offensive to me. I'm not easily offended, either. Like I said, I am also a fan of the show. So, I would probably give him the benefit of the doubt most times. I'll still listen, and I'll still change the station if I feel offended. I would also love for him to apologize and admit that he went way too far. When Rham Emmanuel used the word once in a private meeting, it was offensive to those more sensitive than I am. When Rush used the word repeatedly, it was offensive to me. Emmanuel's use was a slip not intended for public ears. Limbaugh's use was intended to be inflammatory and was used in a very public forum. Rush needs to man up and admit he was wrong. Rham did.

    February 6, 2010 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Emma

    Limbaugh followers love his looseness of the English language. It is really incomprehensible to me that he is listened to by such a huge audience. Do these people really have a life separate from Limbaugh, Beck, O 'Reilly, Hannity, Palin?

    February 6, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  9. P. BeJeaux

    When will his fifteen minutes be up? Rush is a man that believes we are all beneath him. He was a washed up DJ that got a lucky break. I guess it represents the state of this country. When a man can make multi-millions bashing and tearing people down and the group of people that support him, it is pathetic. I am a Republican and I am tired of him giving us a bad name. It is about time that Rush takes a seat and shuts up!

    February 6, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  10. anonymous

    Why hasn't Sarah Palin said anything about Limbaugh using the R word? Hmmm? I wonder why?

    February 6, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  11. Porchiaknows

    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
    –noun
    b. a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.

    I think this term is just fine to describe the Washington liberals.

    February 6, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Cynthia, NJ

    Did they really only tell him to watch his language? You see Mrs. Palin did not say a word. What a bunch of Hypocrites and Cowards. Scared of Limbaugh.

    February 6, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. Prevaricator

    "Most want to go further: They want to understand better how they can serve as agents of acceptance and dignity."

    Good luck with that Lushbaugh and his ilk will never understand those two words.

    February 6, 2010 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. John

    I'll be patiently waiting for Palin's statement of outrage.

    Don't plan to hold my breath though...

    February 6, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Jess

    Where's Palin to criticize the use of of the word "retard" now that's it's being used by a member of the GOP?

    February 6, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Churchill

    Who is still in doubt about Palin's hypocrisy and lack of credibility?
    What borders me is that Obama is struggling to please those who will NEVER love him. The crticism is not totally based on facts but hatred of Obama (One who ought to be serving the white boys coffee) in power and how to tearm him down.

    February 6, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. Diane

    Rush is a joke. He is a weak minded druggie who uses prescription pills to be able to stand himself. I dont get why he was never charged for his drug offenses. I am ashamed he is from Missouri. He lost his credibility after he was busted for scrip drugs. Weak AZZ punk. He represents the republicans well. Say one thing do another. Ayone can do that. But to walk the walk takes a real man.

    February 6, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. riggy23

    I think its obvious who the real "retard" is Rush. At least to the people that recognize sensationalist hate mongers like yourself.

    February 6, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Mamanomia

    If Shriver expects an apology from Limberger...he will wait a very long time...however Limberger's stupidity is pitiable and we'll leave it at that.

    February 6, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Average American

    Am I the only one who's amused that Sarah Palin, miss word salad, has unleashed the language police on everyone?

    February 6, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  21. beautiful barack

    And i notice you don't mention ONE SINGLE WORD about Palin asking for Rahm's resignation but however , she does not say one word about Limpball's saying it – what a freaking hypocrit as all are in the rethuglican party!

    February 6, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  22. Christy P

    When is Sarah Palin going to cry foul??? I guess she really can't speak out against the great El Rushbo. HYPOCRITES!!!!!!
    He is a cancer on humanity and I am NOT a democrat.
    American politics have really gone down the toilet!

    February 6, 2010 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Joel Burlingham

    So Rush jumps in and sucks others into his game once again. Boy, this guy gets more mileage from his flatulence than any other living blowhard.

    Joel Burlingham

    February 6, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Denna

    Oh Dear Spirits! Rush using the word retarded. Seriously, is there anything this man won't say? The utter madness in this man' s eyes should be enough to call his insanity into question. Are you happy Rush? You and your minions have made a wreck of this country and the joke is that they don't know that you are using them. Retarded. I would imagine that would include ANYONE who takes YOU seriously. I won't call you a retard, because that would be an insult to people who are struggling with genuine mental disabilities. They are to be commended for trying to survive.

    February 6, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  25. KLJ

    Why isn't Sarah Palin calling for Limbuagh to be fired for using the same term? I think this issue has been overblown. Has anyone look at the definition of the word? It means to slow or impede progress.

    February 6, 2010 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
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