Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) has again responded to President Obama’s recommendation that he “should end his career with dignity.” Michael Barbaro reported yesterday in the New York Times:
At a tense and sometimes fiery candidates’ forum Monday night, Mr. Rangel shot back that it was not his dignity the president should be worried about.
“Frankly, he has not been around long enough to determine what my dignity is,” Mr. Rangel said of the 49-year-old Mr. Obama. “For the next two years, I will be more likely to protect his dignity.”
The unexpected eruption seemed to reflect the increasingly bitter relations between the embattled 20-term Democrat from Harlem and a president who is trying to protect his party’s prospects in a difficult midterm election season.
This reaction is also a bit different from Rangel’s August 10 speech on the House floor. When he wasn’t attacking NLPC, Rangel referenced the President’s remarks, but suggested that Obama somehow implied that he should fight on, pointing out that Obama “didn’t put a time limit on” ending his career.
Rangel also made reference to all he has done for Obama, which is a curious formulation because Rangel was a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton in the presidential primaries.
In May, Rangel apologized to the President for commenting that he should watch his back if he visits New York. Rangel advised the White House to “make certain he doesn’t run around in East Harlem unidentified.” The comment came in the wake of tensions over the shooting of an off-duty black police officer by an on-duty white officer.
Earlier this month, Obama also said, “I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well. But these allegations are very troubling.” Rangel is obviously still steaming. According to the New York Times:
In a brief interview after the forum, Mr. Rangel elaborated on his remarks about Mr. Obama, making clear he did not believe anyone so junior to him had any place weighing in on his long career and stature.
“My dignity is 80 years old,” he said. “How can somebody so much younger tell me how to leave with dignity?”
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