July 20th, 2009
09:38 PM ET
14 years ago

Maloney apologizes for using N word

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/20/art.maloney.gi.jpg caption="Maloney is running for Senate."](CNN) - New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat, apologized Monday for using the N word in a recent interview while recounting a phone call she had received.

"I apologize for having repeated a word I find disgusting," Maloney said in a statement. "It's no excuse but I was so caught up in relaying the story exactly as it was told to me that, in doing so, I repeated a word that should never be repeated."

Maloney, who is challenging Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for the 2010 Democratic Senate nomination in New York, used the full racial slur in an interview with the Web site City Hall while taking aim at Gillibrand's record.

"I got a call from someone from Puerto Rico, said [Gillibrand] went to Puerto Rico and came out for English-only [education]. And he said, 'It was like saying n-r to a Puerto Rican,'" Maloney said. "I don't know-I don't know if that's true or not. I just called. I'm just throwing that out. All of her-well, what does she stand for?"

Earlier Monday, the Rev. Al Sharpton - a supporter of Gillibrand's bid - sharply criticized Maloney for using the word.

"The quote by Congresswoman Maloney if accurate is alarming and disturbing at best," he said in a statement. "No public official even in quoting someone else should loosely use such an offensive term and should certainly challenge someone using the term to him or her."

The controversy comes the same day Maloney is set to hold a big-ticket fundraiser that includes an appearance from former President Bill Clinton. Clinton has also attended a fundraiser for Gillibrand.

Filed under: Carolyn Maloney • Extra
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. TomJay

    Looks like Maloney is ready to be add to the Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time Players. Al Franken must be smiling. Looks like the Democrats in New York are again setting themselves up for the circular firing squad, as though David Patterson hasn't already done enough.

    July 20, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  2. Osama B Laden

    Your country makes me laugh loudly.

    Your black leaders and black singers use such words but should a white woman utter similar words, then she is to be stoned in public!!

    You criticize our treatment of women... yet yours is more deplorable!

    July 20, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Some day... some day... I pray that this travesty of racial divide would end. Why can we not just put this God-awful chapter of our nation's history behind us?

    This isn't partisan!!! We're all HUMAN BEINGS!!!

    Forgive us all, Dear Lord.

    July 20, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. ... Seriously?

    Come on... its time for this country to get over the whole "awwww, she said a bad word" mentality. There was no malice in the context whatsoever. This should not be news.

    July 20, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  5. Melissa

    So tired of this childish behavior. I wish people would just grow up already.

    July 20, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  6. jackie of louisville

    WOW!!!! i can say this N-word and people been racist is coming out more than ever before. I mean I always knew that racism will never go away because it is in people heart. But since the election I guess people are saying its the Freedom of speech, the heck with everthing else. See I grew up in the deep South,and no matter what people say their is still racist people. What those people who say "I was raise around black people, or my best friends are black because it is a "lie".
    I will continue to pray for all hatred in this World

    July 20, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  7. Democrati Ignorati

    Well, no liberals will come out and say it, but I will. If it was a word that she truly found offensive or repugnant, she wouldn't be able to say it in the first place.


    July 20, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Ryan

    Let's get a grip people. It's just a word.

    July 20, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. You lose all credibility when you say Palin is smart

    Well, good-bye political career. What a moron!

    July 20, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  10. FL

    Didn't Jesse Jackson use the word during the presidential campaign? Honestly, I think it is used a lot more in the black community than it is by whites anymore. I'm white and I was taught since a very young age that it is an unacceptable racial slur. I don't have any white friends that use it that I am aware of. I have been around black people who do and I don't understand why.

    July 20, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. david

    maloney is an idiot. democrats and republicans have idiots among their ranks.

    July 20, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Jon

    Can you imagine the reaction if she was a Republican? I've seen far more racism from liberals than from conservatives...liberals just hide it better...this will also be hidden and excused by the liberal media...by the end of this news cycle I'm sure it will somehow be the Rupublicans fault...liberals will blame Gingrich or Limbaugh or Palin for this...I'm surprised Sharpton hadn't done that already...

    July 20, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  13. Lisa in Shelton

    where does Al stand upon this word's usage in far too many popular songs? I find it's use disgusting too – but always, not just when criticized for political advantage or free media coverage.

    July 20, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  14. johnnie

    It is very sad , that a (DEMOCRAT) with Potenial and a (voice )in the (house of reps) used that (UGLY WORD). I got some advice for Carolyn Maloney, the (Amercan People ) will not (Tolerate) that (Name) an(Regroup) and think about just staying in the house (REPS) and thats the (LINE AT THE BOTTOM).....Dont be more of a (TARGET) than you already are now... ( JUST CHILL).........

    July 20, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Get a Life Sharpton

    Good thing that the blood sucking opportunist Sharpton found something to get his face in the press for. Find me a black person that is offended by this and thinks there was malicious intent in its use.

    July 20, 2009 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  16. me

    Al shut up

    July 20, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  17. Anne E.

    Use or repetition of that word is unacceptable - period.
    That having been said, break out the egg timer to see how long it takes for the likes of Mark Sanford, "Comedian" Rush Limbaugh, or Michael Steele to call for her resignation.

    July 20, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  18. Fair is Fair

    @ jackie of louisville, who said:

    "See I grew up in the deep South,and no matter what people say their is still racist people. What those people who say "I was raise around black people, or my best friends are black because it is a "lie".
    I will continue to pray for all hatred in this World"

    jackie, I'm a white woman who grew up in the northeast, and there's plenty of racism up here as well. I'll gladly join you in praying for such hatred. It's appalling.

    July 20, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  19. Chris

    It is a disgusting word and I sure would like for the African Americans in this country to quit using it. Go around any lower working (or non working) class of these people and you'll get your ears burned with that word and many more! My Dad used to say to clean up your own house before talking about someone else's house.

    July 20, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  20. Sean

    Thanks Al for reprimanding this woman for her use of THE word. Werent you also going to stop the use of THE word in music by mostly black artists as well or have you forgotten about that part of your agenda. Or maybe by your actions, its passable for some people to use THE word but not for others.


    July 20, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  21. Debby

    Oh brother she made a mistake get over it Sharpton. I hear so many African Americans refer to you as Ghetto and they don't want to hear yours and Jackson's dribble anymore.

    July 20, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "You criticize our treatment of women… yet yours is more deplorable!"

    What does this have to do with Maloney's genitalia? Had a white man said it, he would have been summarily crucified and everyone knows it. But et's not make up pretend issues here.

    That being said...it was tactless to not replace the word with something else or soemthing neutralized to indicate it, but she was just quoting someone, so it's really not something to get a major wedgie over. Reach around back and unbunch the political panties.

    July 20, 2009 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Roger from CA

    This really is nuts (and, before you jump all over me, I am left-of-center and a solid supporter of Obama and the Democratic agenda).

    It should NEVER be the case that someone gets pilloried merely for using a word in the context of quoting another person's statement.

    I completely understand that the "N-word" is extremely inflammatory and hurtful, and should never be used casually. There are several similarly-inflammatory, pejorative terms for any number of ethnic and racial groups. Believe me, I'm a member of one such ethnicity which is the subject of more than its share of such hateful and hurtful terms.

    But when it gets to the point of not being able to utter such a term even in the context of a quotation or in the context of a dispassionate, non-malicious discussion of its meaning or significance, that is just too much. And it gives ammunition to those out there who scream about "political correctness" running out of control.

    July 20, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  24. Waiting for 2010

    No offense, but when was it decided the "N" word was a bad word?? Years back it wasn't in fact it was even used on an old map describing a place. So what is the big deal and who decided it was bad??

    July 20, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    Good thing she is a democrat. Democratic hyprocracy will forgive her. Only republicans are called racists. Democrat racists are either called Congressmen, Senators, Mr. President or Supreme Court Nominee.

    July 20, 2009 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
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