A long-time Pennsylvania GOP official reportedly earned a warm reception Tuesday for comparing a supporter of President Obama to someone who is "mentally retarded."
At an election night party for state Rep. Randy Vulakovich (R-Shaler), Allegheny County GOP chair and former county executive Jim Roddey fired up a couple hundred local Republicans by noting that Vulakovich had defeated his Democratic opponent by a nearly 50-point margin.
Roddey then segued to a less positive note.
"There was a disappointment tonight. I was very embarrassed," Roddey told the crowd, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I was in this parking lot and there was a man looking for a space to park, and I found a space for him. And I felt badly -- he looked like he was sort of in distress. And I said, 'Sir, here's a place.' And he said, 'That's a handicapped space.' I said, 'Oh, I'm so sorry, I saw that Obama sticker and I thought you were mentally retarded.'"
Post-Gazette reporter Tim McNulty observed that the crowd "hollered and clapped" in response to the insensitive joke.
Roddey has long supported presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney in the presidential race, as well as the Pennsylvania voter ID law that another Republicansbragged will boost the former Massachusetts governor's prospects in the battleground state.
According to the Post-Gazette.com, earlier today he emailed his apologized saying his remarks were "regrettable" and that he has "a long record of supporting people with disabilities and should have remembered that before I spoke. My remarks were inappropriate and I apologize."
To make a joke about the "mentally retarded" and about a handicap space is beyond poor taste, beyond ignorance and beyond cruelty. This was an asinine and pointless thing to say. I would also argue that it falls under the category of bullying. I hope that Mr. Roddy will consider his words much more carefully in the future and to the attendees in the audience who cheered for his tasteless joke-- shame on you as well.