Rahm Takes Pledge Not to Use R-Word

By Lindsey Ellerson

Feb 5, 2010 11:15am

White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel took the online pledge to end the use of the R-word between 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. yesterday.

You can find it on the list of pledges on the website http://www.r-word.org/.

Emanuel apologized to Tim Shriver, the CEO of the Special Olympics after the Wall Street Journal reported the fiery Chicagoan privately called a group of liberal activists "f—ing retarded."

Last August, Emanuel "showed up at a weekly strategy session featuring liberal groups and White House aides," the Journal's Peter Wallsten reported lastTuesday."Some attendees said they were planning to air ads attacking conservative Democrats who were balking at Mr. Obama's health-care overhaul. 'F—ing retarded,' Mr. Emanuel scolded the group, according to several participants. He warned them not to alienate lawmakers whose votes would be needed on health care and other top legislative items."

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

Former Alaska Gov, Sarah Palin, who has a son with Down's Syndrome, was offended by Emanuel's reported remark, posting on her Facebook page: "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."

On Wednesday, Emanuel met with Shriver; Andrew Imparato, President & CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities; Hannah Jacobs, parent and R-word advocate; Julie Petty, self-advocate and former president of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered; and Ricardo Thornton, self-advocate and Special Olympics athlete.

–jpt

* This post has been corrected

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