February 6th, 2010
01:41 PM ET
5 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. Charlie

    According to Sarah Palin Emanuel should be fired for using the R word, but if Rush uses the same word it is perfectly okay. I guess Sarah has a totally different set of ethics for her political allies then for her political enemies. Pure hypocrisy!

    February 6, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  2. Mitch Boxx

    Oh cry me a river. I don't always agree with what people say & I don't always agree with Rep or Dems because I'm neither. but I sure get tired of America whining about what people can say and what they can't say. In a country where we have all these freedoms, rights & religion. People look around you, not only does the government want to take away your freedoms & religion but so does Johnny public. Just quit crying about what other people say. Also, quit whining about "In God we trust" or the 10 commandments in our government building or school its been there years!! Our forefathers would be sooo ashamed of this country. We should be ashamed.

    February 6, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  3. Ted in Minnesota

    I wonder if Sarah Palin is also sending a letter to Mr. Limbaugh, and whether she is asking him to resign his position...

    February 6, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Courtney

    Hsi tongue should ahve been cut out a long time ago..........................

    February 6, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Lee

    Oh, I am so certain the former GOP veep candidate will now insist Limbaugh resign or be fired.
    Wait, no?
    Oh yes, she is attending a charity hair ball for the governor of Texas whose key adviser repeatedly used that word as well. He has not resigned or been fired either.

    February 6, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  6. RIPScottBaio

    Although I find him to be racist and gross, I am going to defend Rush Limbaugh's freedom of speech here. Though some may take offense at the word, there is no law prohibiting its use, last I checked.

    This saddens me, but does not surprise me. The right-wingers want to tell us all what to do with our bodies. No big surprise there. The left-wingers want to tell us all what to say with our mouths.

    No big surprise there, either.

    February 6, 2010 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  7. Dawn

    I certainly don't like this guy. For any reason at all.

    This is ridiculous though. This PC nonsense is... retarded!

    Retarded is a word. It means certain things. Specifically, it means slow, slow witted, slow minded, slowed down. This can apply to different things. Someone's mind might be slowed down because they have an impairment. Or they might be slowed down because they simply can't think straight.

    Personally, I do think Limbaugh is a retard. Saying that he can't use the word is kinda like saying that the United Negro College people can't use the word Negro.

    They're words, people. If they offend you, move somewhere that we don't have this lovely option of free speech. Someone is always going to offend someone. I don't care so much who it is, because if it's not one group of people, it's definitely going to be another.

    Some people pick some pretty retarded battles.
    And yes, the use of the word retarded in this post is gratuitous and unnecessary.... but I can say it if I want to.

    February 6, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  8. jason S

    Does Ms. Palin now want Rush fired too???

    February 6, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Sam

    I hate how various groups of people keep cycling through words to refer to themselves, and then anytime someone uses one of their previous words in the way it is intended or in a new, completely different way, they take offense.

    Retarded means slowed. It's been used for ages in all kinds of uses. Ritardando in music. Flame-retardant clothing. These are things which slow or halter the progress of a song or a fire, or in the case of calling a person a retard, their thought processes.

    There was a time when it was used to refer to someone who, due to genetic or other medical reasons, had slow or hindered learning abilities. They have since moved on to more 'politically correct' terms. They don't get to 'keep' the word for themselves. It can now be used for it's intended purpose, and that is referring to things which slow progress.

    As a disclaimer, I am not saying this to stick up for Limbaugh. I hate the guy. But seriously, articles like this are retarded. That's not even a sarcastic joke. Articles like this really do hinder society's progress by strapping us down with over-bearing political correctness.

    February 6, 2010 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Bill, NY

    Mr. Limbaugh is a prime example of why we are headed for extinction. A drug addled former used car salesman who found that there are a substantial number of gullible people who will buy whatever he is selling.

    February 6, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Buck Miller

    Rush is nothing less than a hatemonger. He offers nothing that helps America's current situation. Instead of seeking peace and speaking in terms that would be firm yet kind, he thrives on hurting wounds. Rush needs to come to grips with reality and begin offering something useful to humanity.

    February 6, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Michael from Ventura

    He's a complete idiot with no regard or respect for anyone who would dare disagree with him. I think it's great that he's the voice of the gop- shows how far to the right they have gone. And his bagger and birther friends are just like him......CLUELESS!

    February 6, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  13. Lorraine Chavarria

    hmmm...where is Palin now? Oh, sorry...forgot.....it's okay if a Republican does it.

    February 6, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. oc

    we have gotten to the point in our society where almost any word, even when used in the appropriate context, gets some group up in arms. I'm not saying that Limbaugh's use of the word "retard" and the context in which he usues it isn't appropriate but a colleague of mine has been verbally attacked for using the word retarded in the clinical context of delayed motor function. This is a legitimate word, not a word developed to be used as an epithet, that can no longer be used in a contextually appropriate conversation due to political correctness gone awry. There is something very wrong when we have to censor our every choice of word to avoid someone else accusing us of insensitivity ands blowing things out of proportion. We need to focus on significant and legitimate issues and squelch out unnecessary background noise.

    February 6, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. anonymous

    Go tell Pain that, you retard. She's the one who firstkicked up a fuss, not the liberals.

    February 6, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  16. FunkinMonk

    What do You expect of somebody that has fried his brain with so many drugs? As far as I know every time he opens his mouth I hear a drug addict, racist, ignorant person talking.

    February 6, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. Larry - Hazleton, pa

    Who in there right mind would even want to listen to the rantings and ravings of limbaugh the lunatic – those who do lose at least a million brain cells each time – so maybe you could keep listening and you to can b ecome a lunatic.

    February 6, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. FactCheck

    So me get this straight: the quitter from Wasilla criticizes Emanuel for using the word and then Limbaugh is blaming the liberals? Yeah, sounds about right for the Party of No.

    February 6, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Richard Lamb

    Just a short two weeks ago, he was putting his foot in his mouth
    citing the Haiti earthquake would help Obama when the USA offered aid to the desperate. He neglected to say that the USA gave aid to Germany and Japan after those countries were defeated and helped rebuild their economies and cities. Exactly what charities is Rush
    affilitated with and how does he make the world a better place?

    February 6, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I don't like the word "retard" either but don't you think Rush Limbaugh iis one?

    February 6, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    Any responsible person would be careful of the words he/she uses. Mr. Limbaugh is not foreign to being irresponsible.

    Words carry enermous amount of energy in the perceived universe. They generate powerful thoughts of duality such as love and hate, praise and insult, beauty and ugliness, etc. Since all words inherently refer to the duality of existence, they are all false and serve that which is not the Truth. However, they greatly impact our living in the perceived universe. Therefore, people like Mr. Limbaugh, who have a celebrity status in our society, should exercise caution while saying anything publicly unless their intention is to serve an evil purpose and not a civil purpose.

    February 6, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Barbara

    Where's Tea Pary idiot Palin on this one?? Guess it only matters to her if that word is spoken by a Democrat. More and more she's showing her true colors-and despite the rhetoric those colors are not red, white, and blue.

    February 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I have never seen this country in such a mess. It seems like all the republican's and the talk show host such as Rush act like a bunch of 4th graders. I am one for voted for Mr. Obama and still think he is trying to do something for people like me. But I understand that anything he tries to do has to go through congress, which is impossible. In my opinion Rush, Shawn, Glen are a bunch of troublemakers and should not be allowed to talk the way they do. And to the republican at the national tea party convention (from Colorado), I do know how to spell VOTE and I can certainly speak it in English. How dare you, and how childish. Why don't you people grow up.

    February 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  24. phillip Marlowe

    That criticism is so retarded.

    February 6, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  25. Rich

    Where is Sarah Palin's outrage and letter asking for Rush Loudmouth's resignation from the airwaves?

    February 6, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
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