Emanuel to sign anti-'retarded' pledge

Feb. 3, 2010 at 7:52 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he would sign a pledge to end the use of the word ''retarded'' as a derogatory name.

Advocates for the developmentally disabled said Emanuel, who is in hot water for calling some Obama administration staff and other liberal Democrats "(expletive) retarded" at a meeting last August, also promised the administration would consider seeking legislation known as Rosa's Law to remove the word from federal law, The New York Times reported.

Emanuel met with Special Olympics head Tim Shriver and other advocates in his West Wing office.

The groups issued a joint statement afterward, saying Emanuel agreed to "join more than 54,000 people in pledging to end the use of the R-word at www.r-word.org," and added "the administration would continue to look for ways to partner with us" on the legislative front.

"He started the meeting outright acknowledging that he had made a mistake and acknowledging that he had apologized, and acknowledging that he had hurt people through his actions,'' said Peter Berns, head of The Arc advocacy group. "He was very straightforward about that, and he appeared to be very sincere.''

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