White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has long been known for his foul mouth and ferocious temper. But one particularly inelegant remark he made last fall resurfaced with a vengeance recently and may yet turn out to be the most contentious of his career.
Emanuel is reported to have told several liberal groups their idea was "f---ing retarded," during a political strategy meeting in August.
The groups wanted to air attack ads against Democratic lawmakers who were unsupportive of President Obama's health care reform initiative, which was already facing tough opposition from town hall protesters and Republicans.
The Wall Street Journal's Peter Wallsten broke the news of this incident last week in a story about Emanuel's escalating conflicts with the progressive factions that make up Obama's base. Now the story has taken on a life of its own, provoking a controversy across the political spectrum about the use of the "R-word."