February 3rd, 2010
08:03 PM ET
10 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. Drew

    Reality check: the word "retarded" is vernacular – it might not be the most politically correct term, but there are bigger issues out there that deserve attention. I guess until we stop electing politicians instead of statesmen, we're bound to these trivialities.

    February 3, 2010 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  2. Thomas Jefferson

    Don't worry everyone, I'm sure Palin will find these comments just as "unacceptable" and "heartbreaking."

    February 3, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  3. Drew

    I should add, though, that someone in that position should know a little better (be a little more practiced in public office) than to be that careless.

    February 3, 2010 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  4. tim

    okay... Rush uses the word all the time... Palin, go after Rush too!

    February 3, 2010 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  5. g

    This is just retarded.

    February 3, 2010 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    u cant support someone who does the same thing as what your yelling about someone else doing!

    February 3, 2010 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  7. Jefe

    LOL! This is awesome in so many ways. I wonder how Palin is going to react this time. It might not be as bad because Perry isn't "different from us", as Palin would likely describe Rahm.

    February 3, 2010 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. Matt

    I give this article an r for ridiculous

    February 3, 2010 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. J.V.Hodgson

    Dear Mrs Palin,
    The word has a very specific meaning and in the context Mr. Emanuel used it has no relevance to your son Trig's " cognitive and developmental" ability. He was not talking about your son so why are you upset, because if you are you are simply upset about the definition of the word Retarded. It is used to describe all kinds of people ( not just Downs syndrome children ") when thier learning skills are significantly less than the average,or when something is slower than a norm.
    Emotionally I can understand your feelings if the comment is made about you or any of your family members. Trying to put the word out of use as " improper" is totally unreasonable , or the even more unrealistic demand that President Obama should Fire him for using the word.
    Grow up please.
    Sticks and stones may break my bones but words never really hurt anyone.

    February 3, 2010 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  10. Tom

    This discussion is retarded. Please quit giving her coverage so she will go away.

    February 4, 2010 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  11. MatthewDetroit

    Barack Obama is a liar with a socialist agenda.

    You people need to read whatr he states each day.

    He is about taxing until we are broke.
    He is spending until we are broke.
    He is a socialist adn he supports the communiist party.

    He is not american and hates america.

    February 4, 2010 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  12. Ben

    I doubt most of the people complaining about the use of the word really care that much. It's just another non-issue people use for political gain. We have serious economic problems and two wars going on and people are freaking out over a word. And now the Republicans are suddenly the party of political correctness?

    February 4, 2010 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  13. GC

    Since when is the word "retarded" exclusive to human beings with mental health issues? The word is used for lots of other things, I suggest Ms. Palin and others consult the dictionary, it an be used to describe plant deficient plant growth, and it is also recognized as a legitimate word to describe any issue or process or circumstance that is not meeting expected performace criteria. The definition of the word "retarded"

    "slowed or delayed in development or progress"

    The word is used by Mr. Emmanuel, and Mr. Carney correctly, poo poo to those politicians trying to make an issue of it, they are the ones who called attention to the unfortunate circumstance of mental retardation, shame on THEM!

    February 4, 2010 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  14. rick Atlanta

    I'm willing to bet my whole years salary that she wont call for his resignation... Any takers?

    February 4, 2010 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  15. SC-Pub "no" more

    Well, let's see how authenic old Sarah-I Quit-Palin is on this subject. Her God, RUSH, used the "R" word four times today in a less than favorable way. Let's just see if Sarah demands Rush to be fired.

    By the way CNN, you report every negative peep among the Dems, why nothing about Rush on this subject?

    February 4, 2010 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  16. billy123

    I am glad I do not live in Texas who would want to vote for either of these people running for Governor?

    Both or bad the Texas!

    February 4, 2010 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  17. Bridget

    Sarah Palin: Only takes an anti-PC stance when it applies to her own thoughts and words. Hypocrite.

    February 4, 2010 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  18. NeedingMoreForTX

    The flipant and disgusting use of the terms in the conversation are a snapshot of what is absolutely not necessary. No thanks Governor Perry.

    February 4, 2010 12:41 am at 12:41 am |

    Someone should remind Sarah that "stupid is as stupid does" which begs the question: why isn't she supporting Kay Bailey Hutchinson? It was Kay B.H. who fell on her sword for the GOP the day Palin's vice- presidential nomination was announced. Palin is a bottom feeder, plain and simple.

    February 4, 2010 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  20. GLO

    Has there ever been a Republican in modern times with an idea or an original thought? Or have they always been simple minded hate mongers whose only "contribution" is to twist the words, ideas and motives of others into something they think will make them look good? They look like what they are: dull witted hate mongers. They seem to live to hate and punish others instead of coming up with positive solutions to the problems the country faces. Judging by Dubya's regime, they just aren't good at "thinkin".

    February 4, 2010 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  21. Kevin Cantu

    So let me get this straight...Sarah Palin complains about Rahm Emanuel using the "R" word but stays silent when one of Perry's people use the exact same word and also stays silent when Rush Limbaugh uses the "R" word as well??? Really???Wow I guess she only cares when it's a Democrat saying it. Goes to show how much she really love's her son Trig in the end...That's Sad

    February 4, 2010 12:49 am at 12:49 am |

    Although I think its better for Kay Bailey Hutchinson not to be associated with Palin. (see my previous comment)

    February 4, 2010 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  23. PaulMoATX

    This is a complete and utter non-issue. Can we please focus on the people's business?

    February 4, 2010 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  24. BeverlyinNC

    I think Republicans should be paying more attention to all their members who are "R"acists and constantly make racist statements. The whole leadership In South Carolina from the Gov. Lt. Gov. Rep Joe Wilson to Senators DeMint and Graham cannot stop themselves from using racist words and statements on a regular basis.

    If they are so "values" and "politically correct" then why do they support racists and lunatic racists like the tea baggers? They are so hypocritical it goes beyond words. What a sorry characterless Party!

    It would be nice to actually see one Republican do some real work for working families in America. All they know how to do is criticize, spread hate. fear, and lies. They vote NO on everything to slow down our economic recovery. And there are People out there who still support these traitors?

    February 4, 2010 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  25. Tammy in Arizona

    Again...with everything the country is going through now...Palin's prioritized and has now decided this is her number one issue to tackle.
    If we could just get Rahm Emanuael to stop saying Retarded...we could than maybe move onto ...say job creation.
    Remember folks this was the GOP pick (only thing they could find) for Vice Prez.

    February 4, 2010 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
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