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. Theresa

    I don't think King Limbaugh ready to play the nice guy. When you do no wrong-you don't need to apologize. Where was the fire & brimstone speech re: the King's firing from Madam Tea Party Palin???

    February 6, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  2. CowboyJake

    Why isn't Rush criticizing former Gov. Palin for being a "liberal kook" for calling out Rahm Emanuel for use of the word?

    And why isn't Gov. Palin attacking Limbaugh for using such a vile word....?

    Is she putting the Republican Party before her own child? What kind of mother is she?

    February 6, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  3. Pete

    I believe that Rush's drug abuse has contributed to his insensitivity. I'll bet he wouldn't appreciate people calling him a "junkie".

    February 6, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  4. Tim McFarland

    The students I've had who were mentally retarded were often some of the hardest working kids I've encountered. None of them ever chose to have a disability. Many took school more seriously than those with less serious disabilities.

    Using the word "retarded" as a pejorative term shows ignorance and lack of sensitivity for others, but I understand that this is the norm for Mr. Limbaugh. Perhaps, he has never encountered a person who is the parent of a mentally retarded child. How sad. If he did less talking and more listening, he might find how how much these kids are capable of.

    February 6, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Bob Ramos

    And what does our dear girl – Palin – say? Has she called upon Limbaugh to resign his broadcast seat?

    February 6, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. splat!~

    Wow, bad week for conservative hacks! Palin shows that its ok to be poitically correct (when HER family is offended), the Tea Boogers are exposed by the elitist racial hypocrites that drive their cause, Rush confirms that he is a callous prick (once again), and O'Rielly gets his nipple twisted on his own show!~ OUCH!~

    February 6, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Alex

    "The pain it caused in our community". Did people actually break down in tears because some politician made a comment that most people wouldn't have heard if the "community" hadn't made an issue of it? Not arguing the point of view, but let's not get carried away with the rhetoric. Most of the people I know who are in the demographic being discussed either don't care or would just go "yeah whatever".

    February 6, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Jason

    "These liberal activists are kooks, they are looney tunes."

    Takes one to know one Rush. No go pull your lip over your head and swallow. America will be a better place without you.

    February 6, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Wisconsonite

    Limbaugh's a pig. I realize that is an insult to four legged pigs, and for that I sincerely apologize.

    February 6, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Joe Wallace

    "Wah, wah, wah....you hurt my feelings, you hurt my feelings! Boo hoo boo hoo...you should be EXECUTED for hurting my feelings. Wahhhhhhhhhh!!!!" Our forefathers are turning over in their graves. Grow up...retards.

    February 6, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Stallion

    Mr Limbaugh was, after all, quoting Mr Emanuel's original comment. I personally do not use the word. It seems to be a word that teenagers like to use a lot. I recall an episode the Seinfeld show where he could not seem to escape using similar words that were offensive to Native Americans and I laughed hysterically but looking back I guess if you are the brunt of a deragatory word it can be unpleasant if you let it be. In a country where free speech is right, words are important. It is unfortunate though that "the word" has to be used as an example to point out that our country is too politically correct by Mr Limbaugh or used by Mr Emanuel to make a point. C'mon guys.....you can both do better than that. Have a heart.....

    February 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. annie s

    Hmmm. Is Sara calling for Rush to resign or be fired?

    February 6, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Regina, IL

    Why give him heat. Whoever pays his check loves it. I guess It's okay to talk about "Barack The Magic Negro" and "retards". Rush is stupid and he gets paid to be stupid.

    February 6, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  14. Rob Selby

    No. You see, Boss Limbaugh, the right-wing lunatic fringe, such as yourself, are the real lunatics running around out there.

    You selfish, racist, facist, right-wing scum make me sick. It is your kind that ruined the world during those years of 2000-2008. Now, you act like it never happened and Obama is somehow to blame for the mess we're trying to dig out of. YOU SUCK!!

    February 6, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  15. harold

    What word best describes Rush Limpbaugh?..The" R "..word... "Nazi."....or "Tea Party chief in Charge"..?.....A seeker of small government to fight Terrorists?.. A seeker of small government to fight the Great Recession?..Or a seeker of small government to gain jobs for the USA?

    February 6, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  16. Robyn

    Mr Limbaugh's entire career seems to be built on demeaning and humiliating those without the power to defend themselves against his attacks.

    He appears to be very self-satisfied with his position as the schoolyard bully who constantly seeks out a smaller child to threaten and intimidate, but who immediately skulks away like the coward he is, when faced with true power.

    We need to put Mr. Limbaugh and his disgusting behavior firmly back in the closet where he belongs.

    We are Americans and we stand together.
    United against those who would seek to divide and degrade us.

    We have no use for Mr Limbaugh's loathsome tactics of fear, hate, greed and ignorance.

    February 6, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  17. DisgustedinNC

    Where is Palin's anger and revulsion now? Why is she not asking Limbaugh to resign?

    February 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. JP

    Not that my individual opinion matters all that much, but I was just arguing last night to my friends that "retarded" is not offensive to me at all, but when people call me or other's "retards", I find that very offensive, and I can see why the Special Olympics folks might be a bit more upset at the term "retards" than "retarded". I don't like Rush Limbaugh, but I had thought this through well before I was aware Rush was using it recently. This is unfortunately defining American politics in the early part of this decade, which can't say much for the rest of the decade!

    February 6, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. An Independent

    What Rush Limbaugh calls political correctness many of us would call maturity, respectfulness, and civility. But of course, he doesn't know anything about any of those traits, so it's not surprising that he doesn't recognize them when he sees them.

    February 6, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Do not hold your breath to get the same respect, the same dignity from Mr. Limbaugh. He and his numbers thrives from the (ab)use of name calling!

    February 6, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. ThePreacher

    So if we're going to call a spade a spade, he doesn't mind being called a fat junkie

    February 6, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Patsy, Texas

    Who believes this sty resident cares?

    February 6, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. Joe

    Idiots, retards, morons! We definately are going a little overboard with this political correctness. They are just words. We are a nation of immature retards. Hey, the timing in my car is retarded, woops, sorry, i meant advancily disadvantaged. Grow up! P.S. As far as rush is concerned...it takes one to know one.

    February 6, 2010 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. joann

    Rush Limbaugh is an idiot

    February 6, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  25. mike

    My 12 year old is autistic cannot speak but can do academics and has comprehension of a college kid. Is he a retard Rush?

    February 6, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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