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Sen. Kevin Cramer says typo is to blame for tweeted slur; some aren't buying it

U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., tweeted "she's retarded" in response to a post containing a quote from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Twitter screenshot

BISMARCK — U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer says his "fat fingers" are to blame for a tweet containing an offensive word sent out Tuesday night, March 24.

At 7:42 p.m. Central time, the North Dakota Republican tweeted "she's retarded" from his official senatorial account in reply to a Twitter post from right-wing news outlet The Daily Caller about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's proposal for an economic stimulus package.

Cramer deleted the post about 10 minutes later and told Forum News Service he meant to write "she's ridiculous," but the auto-correct function on his phone changed what he had typed. He went on to say he doesn't use the term, which "is offensive because of its historical use toward people with disabilities."

The term "retard" is now widely regarded as pejorative toward people with cognitive and physical disabilities. As recently as 2013, some federal laws and documents referred to intellectual disabilities as "mental retardation," but a movement to retire "the R-word" has largely succeeded in making the term taboo.

North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party Chairwoman Kylie Oversen told Forum News Service there's "not a shot that (Cramer) is telling the truth." The former state lawmaker said it's not even possible that auto-correct would produce the word unless Cramer typed it regularly.

"I have no idea why anyone would use that word, let alone a sitting U.S. senator," Oversen said. "It's offensive and hurtful and unacceptable."

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