Yesterday, after former Alaska governor Sarah Palin sharply criticized White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for calling liberal activists “f-ing retarded,” ThinkProgress and others asked whether she would likewise criticize hate radio talker Rush Limbaugh for using Emanuel’s comments as an excuse to utter a variation of the word “retard” over 40 times on his show yesterday. Limbaugh declared that “our political correct society is acting like some giant insult’s taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards.” On his radio show today, Limbaugh claimed that Palin wouldn’t denounce him because she’s “a life long listener” of his program who “knows that all I’m doing is quoting Emanuel.” Listen here:
In a statement released to The Plum Line’s Greg Sargent today, Palin spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton responded to Limbaugh’s comments with criticism, saying that “Governor Palin believes crude and demeaning name calling at the expense of others is disrespectful.” Politico’s Jonathan Martin notes, however, that Palin’s spokeswoman “won’t criticize the talker by name.” Perhaps the Palin camp avoided naming Limbaugh because they are like the other Republicans who are fearful of criticizing and offending the conservative talker. Several leading conservatives, including RNC Chairman Michael Steele, have been forced to publicly apologize to Limbaugh.
Stapleton tried to dispel the impression that Palin was criticizing Rush directly tonight, telling Fox News that “The Washington Post is trying hard to take the pressure off the White House by creating a side controversy, but it is missing the point: as the Governor has said, it doesn’t matter who says the “r” word: it should no longer be part of our lexicon.” Palin officials told Fox that “they are not singling out Limbaugh.”
,Sargent calls Stapleton’s backtracking to Fox “beyond absurd.” He notes that Stapleton “knew she was responding directly to what Rush said. Period.”