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Ann Coulter Should Publicly Apologize For Saying 'Retard,' Change.org Petition Says

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ANN COULTER RETARD
Ann Coulter gestures while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Friday, Feb. 10, 2012. Coulter has come under fire for using the word 'retard' to criticize President Obama. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) | AP

A petition urging Ann Coulter to publicly apologize for "constantly using the R-word" has racked up more than 70,000 supporters since its launch.

Dennis Morgan from Norlina, N.C., said he started the Change.org petition to "raise awareness that using the word retard(ed) is disrespectful, dehumanizing, and very hurtful."

In an introduction to the petition, Morgan wrote:

Ann Coulter is a public figure with over [280,000] twitter followers. Her words impact many people and I wish she would take that into consideration when making comments. This is not a political issue for me. It's all about respect and neither Ms Coulter's party affiliation nor my party affiliation play a part in this petition.

Coulter came under fire for using the "R-word" last week after she called President Barack Obama a "retard" in a tweet following the final presidential debate. The conservative commentator then used the word "retarded" in a second tweet in which she scolded Obama for poking fun at cancer with the phrase "Stage 3 Romnesia."

Coulter's use of the offensive word triggered an onslaught of criticism -- from Twitter users, parents and other individuals who found her tweets "offensive and disrespectful."

In a moving open letter, Special Olympics athlete John Franklin Stephens also responded to Coulter's words, compassionately challenging her to re-think her use of the "R-word."

"Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor," Stephens, who has Down syndrome, wrote. "No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much."

Despite the widespread criticism, however, Coulter has remained unmoved.

Speaking on Alan Colmes' Fox News Radio show last week, Coulter said she had "no regret over using the word because she wasn't referring to someone with a disability."

"Look, no one would refer to a Down Syndrome child, someone with an actual mental handicap, by saying ‘retard.’ Where do you think the words ‘imbecile,’ ‘idiot,’ ‘moron,’ ‘cretin’ come from? These were all technical terms at one time. ‘Retard’ had been used colloquially to just mean ‘loser’ for 30 years,” Coulter insisted. “But no, no -- these aggressive victims have to come out and tell you what words to use.”

According to an earlier Huffington Post report, Coulter -- in response to a suggestion that the word "retard" may be as much a slur to some as the "n-word" -- went on to dismiss her critics as the "word police."

Oh, screw them,” she said. “That’s what they feel I do? I feel they’re being authoritarian bullying victims.”

As of Tuesday evening, the Change.org petition calling for an apology from Coulter had 70,481 supporters.

"My special needs nephew is one hundred times the human that Ann Coulter will ever be. She should make a public apology and save us from ever having to listen to her insipid harangues ever again," wrote one Arizona man who signed the petition.

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