Letter targets Ann Coulter's backward use of the 'r-word'

A letter posted on the Special Olympics website in response to Ann Coulter's controversial tweet after Monday night' presidential debate is getting a lot of attention this week.

The conservative political pundit lit up the Twitterverse after the presidential foreign policy debate with the following comment in an apparent response to critiques of Mitt Romney's performance:

@AnnCoulter: I highly approve of Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard. See the tweet.

It wasn't the first time Coulter used the "the r-word" during this election season, and it's not the first time she has been called out on it.

The word "retard" demeans Max and millions more with intellectual disabilities, blogger Ellen Seidman tweeted at Coulter. Still, the comment was favorited 1,215 times and earned 2,993 retweets as of this writing, presumably by a number of people who didn't find it offensive. But sentiments from those who chose to respond to Coulter on Twitter ranged from disappointment to outrage.

"You disgust me. That man is the president of this country. (& I'm sure all of the disabled children in America appreciate you.)," actress Sophia Bush tweeted.

Congress banned the use of the words "retard" and "retardation" in 2010 in federal health, education and labor laws in favor of using the words "intellectual disability." The American Psychiatric Association also plans to replace the term "mental retardation" with "intellectual development disorder" in the fifth version of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to be published by in 2013.

‘An Open Letter to Ann Coulter' was posted to the Special Olympics website after the tweet.

The letter is signed by John Franklin Stephens who says he is a man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public's perception of someone with an intellectual disability.  

In the letter, he says it took him all day to figure out how to respond to Coulter's use of the R-word. Read what he has to say by viewing the full letter.

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