Palin urges Obama to fire Emanuel for calling staff 'retarded'

McClatchy NewspapersFebruary 2, 2010 

Sarah Palin is urging President Barack Obama to fire White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for referring to colleagues in a closed-door meeting as "f---ing retarded."

"Just as we'd be appalled if any public figure of Rahm's stature ever used the 'N-word' or other such inappropriate language, Rahm's slur on all God's children with cognitive and developmental disabilities, and the people who love them, is unacceptable, and it's heartbreaking," Palin, the mother of a child with Down syndrome, wrote in a new post on her Facebook page.

She noted that the Wall Street Journal describes Emanuel's comments, quoting several participants who attended the strategy session with the famously profane staff chief.

"Yes, Rahm is known for his caustic, crude references about those with whom he disagrees, but his recent tirade against participants in a strategy session was such a strong slap in many American faces that our president is doing himself a disservice by seeming to condone Rahm's recent sick and offensive tactic," Palin said.

In an open letter to Emanuel, the National Down Syndrome Society said that, "using the word retarded is hurtful and damaging and conveys the message that individuals with disabilities are not competent.

"People with disabilities are human beings. They should be treated and referred to as valued citizens. Negative and inaccurate public perceptions are the greatest barriers the National Down Syndrome Society faces in achieving acceptance and inclusion of people with Down syndrome and other cognitive disabilities."

Emanuel apologized last Wednesday to Tim Shriver, the chief executive of the Special Olympics, according to the White House. The apology was several days before Palin's Facebook posting.

"The White House remains committed to addressing the concerns and needs of Americans living with disabilities and recognizes that derogatory remarks demean us all," said a White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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