WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin created quite the stir late last week when she called for President Obama's chief of staff Rahm Emanuel to be fired over privately using the word "retarded" in a pejorative manner.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate, whose child has Down Syndrome, took to Facebook to launch a forceful attack on Emanuel, calling his words "indecent," "sick" and "offensive."
And if Emanuel's use of the word in such a context is wrong, so must it be when conservatives do it, right? Apparently not.
Confronted with the fact that Palin's fellow media star Rush Limbaugh has repeatedly used the word "retards" to describe those he disagrees with, Palin's spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton emailed a response to The Plum Line's Greg Sargent.
"Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful," she wrote.
While some took this to mean she was criticizing Limbaugh, Palin later clarified that she was not, and explicitly defended Limbaugh's public -- and repeated -- use of the word "retards" in a similarly crude context, while appearing on Fox News Sunday.
"They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh," Palin said, claiming Limbaugh was merely "using satire."
"I didn't hear Rush Limbaugh calling a group of people whom he did not agree with 'f-ing retards,' and we did know that Rahm Emanuel, as has been reported, did say that," she added. "There is a big difference there."
The context in which Limbaugh endorsed the use of the word is exactly that which Emanuel used it in -- Limbaugh agreed with Emanuel's labeling of some progressive Democrats as "fucking retarded."
On his radio show, Limbaugh said: "Our political correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards. I mean these people, these liberal activists are kooks. They are looney tunes. And I’m not going to apologize for it, I’m just quoting Emanuel. It’s in the news. I think their big news is he’s out there calling Obama’s number one supporters f’ing retards. So now there’s going to be a meeting. There’s going to be a retard summit at the White House."
Emanuel's comments received considerable attention in the press, invoking an apology from him.
Palin also strongly hinted Sunday on Fox that she may run for president in 2012, saying it would be "absurd" to "close a door" on the possibility.
"I would, I would if I believe that is the right thing to do for our country and the Palin family," she said. "Certainly I would do so."
On Saturday, Palin spoke at the first ever Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tennessee, where she assailed Obama and called the movement "the future of politics."
This video is from Fox's Fox News Sunday, broadcast Feb. 7, 2010.