Charles Rangel sure seems to know how to get himself tangled up these days. While his tax liabilities remained a top story yesterday, he became the center of new controversy when he referred to Sarah Palin as "disabled."
In an interview with CBS's Marcia Kramer, Rangel was asked why Democrats were so afraid of Palin and her popularity. His response: "You got to be kind to the disabled." Rangel then clarified he was referring to Palin's lack of credentials saying, "It's a nightmare to think that a person's foreign policy is based on their ability to look at Russia from where they live."
Republicans naturally wasted no time in jumping on Rangel's comment as being "disgraceful." Peter King, the SI Congressman who heads the local campaign for McCain-Palin bashed Rangel's words calling them "wrong, wrong, wrong" and adding, "This is just another liberal Democrat who can't accept an independent woman running for president...And so to use the word disabled in the context of a female candidate for vice president who has a child who is disabled really is wrong."
Rangel had already been on damage control yesterday, announcing that he paid $10,800 in back taxes to cover 2004 through 2006 that didn't account for income he received from his villa in the Dominican Republic, as well as the 2004 sale of a Harlem apartment building. In a letter to constituents, he admitted his gaffes but said that Republicans were using him as a talking point as they engaged in "guerrilla war."
As backlash to his "disabled" comment heated up, Rangel said that the response from Republicans was "stupid" and showed that "they don't have any credibility" while admitting his use of the word was a "poor choice of words." Advocates for the disabled want more of an apology. Michael Imperiale of Disabled In Action Of Metropolitan NY shot back at the congressman, "A disabled president ran this country. He was disabled. His name was Roosevelt."