Update at bottom: Palin camp (sort of) rips Limbaugh for 'retard' slurs
MSNBC's Keith Olbermann wants to know when -- or if -- Sarah Palin will ask her ideological ally Rush Limbaugh to apologize for repeatedly using the word "retarded" on the air, days after Palin demanded that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel resign for using the word himself.
In a Facebook note Monday, Palin, whose son Trig has Down Syndrome, called on President Obama to "show decency ... by eliminating one member of [his] inner circle, Mr. Rahm Emanuel" over Emanuel's declaration that leftist Democrats are "fucking retarded" for pushing a progressive agenda.
"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 wrote.
On Countdown Wednesday night, Olbermann played a clip of Rush Limbaugh discussing the "r-word" controversy.
"Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult has taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards -- retards. I'm not going to apologize for it, I'm just quoting Emanuel. The big news is he's out there calling Obama's number-one supporters 'effing retards.' So now there's gonna be a meeting, there's gonna be a retard summit at the White House," Limbaugh said.
"So, when will Governor Palin demand that Rush Limbaugh be fired?" Olbermann asked. "She has already said it's unacceptable for any public figure of 'Rahm's stature' to use the word and she is appalled, meaning either she is demanding Limbaugh be fired, or she is concluding Limbaugh is not a public figure, or she concluded that Limbaugh is not of Rahm Emanuel's stature. Thus the endgame here is Ms. Palin permits Mr. Limbaugh to get away with slur on 'all God's children [with] disabilities,' thus erasing any remaining personal credibility she might have on this issue, or he has to apologize to her, or she has to apologize to him."
Margaret Carlson, Washington editor of The Week, told Olbermann she thinks Limbaugh will "quickly apologize" for his remark, "knowing that [Palin] will have to treat him the same way."
But Olbermann disagreed, pointing out that Palin stayed silent when Ann Coulter called Nancy Pelosi "mentally retarded" and when Tucker Carlson described Canada as a "retarded cousin" of the United States.
Emanuel has reportedly apologized to the Special Olympics over his comment, although there was some initial confusion as to whether or not the apology was accepted. Emanuel met with "six disability advocates" on Wednesday, and pledged not to use the word again.
Palin camp (sort of) rips Limbaugh for 'retard' slurs
Plumline's Greg Sargent was able to elicit a response from the Palin camp. However, the statement never mentions Rush Limbaugh by name so the former Alaskan governor can retain plausible deniability if forced to apologize for daring to criticize perhaps the only Republican more popular than herself.
Sargent writes, "I asked Palin spokesperson Meghan Stapleton for comment on Rush’s rant, and she emailed me this: 'Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.'”
"It hardly has the passion of her response to Rahm, and there’s no call for him to step down," Sargent observes. "But given Rush’s stature among conservatives, it’s pretty interesting that she went this far, denouncing his on-air rant as 'crude and demeaning name-calling.'”
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast Feb. 3, 2010.