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. Doraine Gordon

    Well, Well, Well!!! Who will Palin demand Perry fire for using the "R" word? Or will she let it pass since it came out of the mouth of a Republican? These two faced people are absolutely sickening. According to Levi, Palin refers to her son as retarded so why does she get so excited when she hears the word. Shows just how dumb she is!!

    February 3, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. drbcool

    Pretty soon we won't be able to use any words at all because someone, somewhere, will be offended. We'll become a nation of mutes - oops! Can I still use that word?

    February 3, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. SayWhat

    If Emmanual used the word "stupid", then Sarah Plain would have taken offense personnally, saying it is "a slur on me and on all quitter politicians with limited intelligence."

    February 3, 2010 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. therealamerica

    Where is Palin's outrage...crickets...that's what I thought. Hypocrite!

    February 3, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  5. Obama/Biden

    Washington is divided by partisan politics including a racial politic. President Obama agenda cannot clear republican congress just because the president defeated John McCain that is why McCain as a pay back oppose everything the president propose. They do not want barack to succeed. It is like the 60's all over again. Some people do not the president and his agendas just because the president is African American and this factor will cause the president to serve only on term. It is not because he is doing bad, Washington racism and partisan is the fact. We already starting to see that example Massachussetts senate eletion.

    February 3, 2010 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  6. SayWhat

    Please! Are we to believe that Sarah Palin has never used or heard that word before?

    February 3, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Bennycat

    Oh, no. Say it isn't so. Our Sarah climbing on the PC bandwagon–how liberal of her!

    February 3, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. Julie

    Definition of retarded: "Occurring or developing later than desired or expected; delayed." When used in a derogatory manner the word can be perceived as "offensive". In its literal use, it is rather an accurate description of the progress that the Senate and the Congress have made on important issues for the "common" people. Let's see more action and solutions to Americans' problems and get beyond these inane non-issues that are only distractions or attempts at sensationalism.

    February 3, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  9. zivo24

    Well, well, well...

    Look how "PC" the Greedy Old Party has become when it, as usual, serves their own interests.

    Raging hypocrites.

    February 3, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  10. LacrosseMom(the real one)

    This IS news???? Come on CNN, why no article on how Healthcare for Americans will save money? Why no article about the FREE CLINIC in Connecticut today? Where Americans, poor, working class, unemployed and those with preexisting conditions have to line up, to have a doctor take care of them?!

    The use of the "R" word, is idiotic, but who hasn't used it at one point in their lives!

    February 3, 2010 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Beth, N. Texas

    I guess it's only "unacceptable and heartbreaking" if a Democrat says it. Otherwise, it's OK and understandable. Double standard, right, Sarah? Your silence is deafening.

    February 3, 2010 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  12. james

    How silly can this get. You wonder how this crap plays in the rest of the world.

    February 3, 2010 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. britello-fl

    I hope she remains there, these stupid people need to get some brains.

    February 3, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. debbie


    February 3, 2010 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Sarah

    Yeah come on Palin, what's fair is fair.......you shouldn't even go there until this person is fired for using the R word (that's what you wanted done to Rahm)........kind of hypicritical isn't it? Oh yeah I forgot, the Republicans can use the R word , your Tea Baggers can use the R word but NOT OBAMA, or any of his administration or any Democrat........Palin you are such a phony blow hard........

    February 3, 2010 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. guest

    Gov good hair wants to run for President. No matter what else he says.........

    February 3, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  17. m smith

    emanuel using the f word did not bother her one bit only retarded did. I guess she can pick and chose. But give us all a break if she is so concerned about her son maybe she should stay home with him once in awhile and provide a normal life instead of parading him around when she needs to be in the lime light. The woman is a walking lie and all these people that believe in her have the IQ of jello. Any campaign she endorses you should stay away from like the plague.

    February 3, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. GI Joe

    Oh, that's OK. In fact Palin has used the word herself. It's only a BAD word when a democrat says it.

    February 3, 2010 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. T'SAH from Virginia

    Wow – this is Ridiculous, Roudy, Rash, Rantipole, Rational, Rebarbative and just plain old RETARTED!!!

    Do you know how many times the word Retarded is used??? I don't even think it's used for kids who have disabilities anymore – you refer to them as people and/or kids wiht special needs!!! I don't know when was the last time I referred to someone who had Downs Syndrome as RETARDED!!! Come on now!!!

    Palin cannot sit there and PRETEND she NEVER referred to her son as Retarded. If she did not – then she WILL NOT be so BENT out of shape over the word. Levi EXPOSED her and it's eating her up!!! GIVE US A BREAK!!

    February 3, 2010 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  20. EX-republican

    Republicans are all a bunch of whiny retards. They just dont like that name, because it perfectly fits their low IQ, Twitteresque modus operandi.

    February 3, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  21. Gary

    Who is Sarah Palin to demand anything from anybody, re: expert on international politics because she can see Russia! Maybe she should check out Webster – she might define the very word she objects to.

    February 3, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  22. gord ontario

    i guess retarted is only to be used republicans palin will say nothing gold digger

    February 3, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  23. Pragmatic

    In Palinland .... what is horrible behavior for Democrats is always just fine and dandy for republicans ... you betcha! This "r" word should just be deleted from everyone's vocabulary ...

    February 3, 2010 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. Kim--Baden, PA

    Hmmm...I happen to agree with Sarah Palin that the use of the word "retarded" is a slur and should not be condoned. I'm very interested to see if she attends the scheduled appearance (which would make her hypocritical), or if she decides not to attend.

    February 3, 2010 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  25. Future expat

    Every day I see conservatives on this forum and (especially) on other political forums refer to liberals as


    Has she asked these people to stop using this term? Otherwise that sort of makes her a hypocrite.

    February 3, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
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