AAP: It was Representative Charles Rangel vs President
You have to read this article in the NY Times. Classic political reporting from Michael BarBaro. Great job!
H/T Faye Anderson, Citizen Journalist and publisher of the blog Anderson at Large for the link.
Source: NY Times:
It was a gentle but unmistakable nudge President Obama gave Representative Charles B. Rangel recently, suggesting in an interview three weeks ago that Mr. Rangel, 80, should retire to “end his career with dignity.”
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.
And it came during an uncomfortable evening for Mr. Rangel, who made a rare appearance with his five challengers and found himself facing harsh public attacks in front of his constituents at a Baptist church in the heart of his Harlem district.
Long accustomed to being showered with praise and accolades, and surrounded by friendly crowds who treated him like a folk hero, Mr. Rangel could not escape the controversy that has shaped his re-election bid: the 13 charges of ethical violations issued against him by a House panel last month, including hoarding below-market apartments and improper fund-raising.
The best known of his Democratic challengers, Adam Clayton Powell IV, accused Mr. Rangel of “years and years of corruption.”
“Four rent-controlled apartments. Four!” he yelled.
“It’s a slap in the face to his community!” Mr. Powell thundered.
Mr. Rangel, sitting a few feet away, fidgeted in his chair and fingered some papers, his eyes occasionally darting around the room.
But Mr. Powell did not let up, likening Mr. Rangel’s ethics troubles to a rotting tree: “To have good fruit, you must have a healthy tree. We no longer have a healthy tree, and we will no longer have good fruit.”
The candidates spoke in the sanctuary of the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in western Harlem. Organizers, including some tenants from Mr. Rangel’s apartment complex, appeared determined to tilt the evening in Mr. Rangel’s favor.
They announced unusual rules, just minutes before the forum began, barring photography and videotaping of the forum, ensuring that any heated moments or slip-ups by Mr. Rangel would not turn up later in a rival’s political ads.
The format for the forum, laid out days ago, had originally called for all the candidates to stand on stage at once, putting them on equal footing. But at the last minute, the organizers e-mailed each campaign with a “slight change”: Mr. Rangel would appear on his own, instead of sharing the podium with his challengers.
His rivals cried foul — Mr. Powell called it “the Democratic machine playing tricks” — Read more of this fantastic report HERE
AAP: Well, it looks like State Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV (D) may be right when he said "If Rangel won't resign with dignity, "The community will take him out." Let's see what happens. I have been waiting for this day for years, but Rangel is not the only one that should go...
Read related stories HERE, HERE and HERE