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More And More Democrats Want Rangel To Resign

US Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) speaks to

NEW YORK (CBS 2) ― From the White House on down, Congressman Charles Rangel was under growing pressure from his own party, to resign, CBS 2’s Magee Hickey reports.

It wasn’t a very subtle message President Obama sent to the Harlem Democrat. In an exclusive interview with CBS News, President Obama repeatedly referred to the 20-term Democratic congressman in the past tense. “I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well, but these allegations are very troubling.”

On Monday morning’s Early Show, Mr. Obama all but said that the Democrat who has represented Harlem for 40 years should resign. “He’s somebody at the end of his career, 80-years-old. I’m sure he wants to be able to end his career with dignity and my hope is that happens.”

A half-dozen Democrats, including an upstate congressman battling to hold on to his seat, have already called on Rangel to resign, fearing that an ethics trial beginning in September could hurt their party in November.

Despite the seriousness of the 13 charges against Rangel, ranging from not paying income tax on a vacation home to using official stationary to raise money for an outside project, and despite repeated efforts to reach a settlement, the congressman’s lawyer, Leslie Kiernan, was sounding unusually optimistic in a written statement.

“Congressman Rangel is the one who initiated the investigation and has publicly acknowledged he made mistakes. He has made several good faith attempts to resolve the matter and remains hopeful that it will be resolved,” Kiernan said.

Some of Rangel’s high-powered friends, like Speaker Pelosi, were signaling that they won’t be intervening on his behalf. “I am totally out of the loop. It is independent. It is confidential,” she said.