Disabled Democrat Slams Romney Surrogate Over "Wheel Chair Race" Crack

Disabled Americans, “including members of Congress, work, improve their communities and serve their country,” Rep. Jim Langevin says in response to comments by Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Alex Brandon / AP

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Charlotte, NC – A top surrogate to Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is coming under fire for his off-color joke that the Senate is good for little more than “wheelchair races.”

In comments Monday afternoon, Rep. Jason Chaffetz – a Utah Republican who has emerged as one of Romney’s key surrogates – jokingly said he was unsure what lawmakers in the Senate did other than “the Wednesday night bingo and wheelchair races.”

Chaffetz’ comments drew a sharp rebuke from Democratic Rep. Jim Langevin, who is disabled.

“While wheelchairs definitely are fun to race, my friend from Utah may be interested to find out that they also help many Americans, including members of Congress, work, improve their communities and serve their country,” Langevin told Buzzfeed.

At age 16, Langevin was working as a volunteer for the Warwick Police Department. He was shot after a weapon accidentally discharged, and the wound left him a paraplegic.

Langevin is the co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, along with House Republican Conference Vice-Chair Cathy McMorris Rogers. A spokesperson for McMorris Rogers, who is also one of Romney’s key surrogates, did not return a request for comment on Chaffetz’ comments.

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John Stanton is the Washington, D.C. bureau chief for BuzzFeed News. In 2014, Stanton was a recipient of the National Press Foundation’s 2014 Dirksen Award for distinguished reporting of Congress.
Contact John Stanton at john.stanton@buzzfeed.com.

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