Special Olympics Chairman and CEO Timothy Shriver personally accepted an apology from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuelon Wednesday, days after comments surfaced in which Emanuel used the word "retarded" to describe a proposal made by a group of liberal Democrats.
According to a joint statement from Shriver and five other disability advocates who attended a meeting at the White House, Emanuel "sincerely apologized for his mistake and the pain it caused in our community." Emanuel also committed to signing an online pledge to make the word obsolete.
"We are thankful to Mr. Emanuel for meeting with us today and hearing our concerns," the statement said.
"Our community has earned the right to be respected instead of ridiculed. We have suffered injustice for generations and we are demanding that it end," the advocates said. "This is another small step on the road to a country that accepts the gifts of all."
Emanuel invited Shriver and the other advocates to meet with him after his months-old remarks came to light in a Wall Street Journal article this week and infuriated members of the disability rights community.
According to the report, last August Emanuel met with liberal groups at a weekly strategy session that highlighted the issue of health care reform. Emanuel used the term "f---ing retarded" after hearing from a group of liberals that they planned to run television ads against the more conservative, reform-averse members of their own party.