Embattled Congressman Takes Message To Twitter

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Embattled congressman Charlie Rangel took his message to Twitter over the weekend to explain his side of the ethics investigation.

The 80-year-old representative isn’t letting his age keep him from delving into the latest social media medium, as he asked his supporters via tweet to not rush to any judgment.

“Hi this is congressman Charlie Rangel,” he said in an audio Twitter messaged. “As you know, the Ethics Committee procedure is underway and I initiated it. I’ve discovered some of the mistakes I’ve made and my answers to the allegations can be found on my Web site.”

 And with that tweet, the 20-term congressman directs his listeners to his Web site, where you can view a document signed by his lawyers that addresses the 13 charges made public by the Ethics Committee last week.

 CBS 2’s Magee Hickey hit the streets Monday to play the audio tweet for Harlem residents, where she found mixed reactions.

“He’s saying don’t rush to judgment. I’m there,” said one resident. “He needs to step down. He’s been there 40 years. Time to step down, Charlie.” 

Others weren’t so quick to that assessment.

 “He’s a good guy,” said resident Anthony Thomas. “Everyone should give him a shot.”

 Gina Casino, another Harlem resident, agreed. “There is no rush to judgment,” she said. “This has been going on a long time.”

The Harlem residents were also divided over whether President Obama should have been talking about Congressman Rangel in the past tense. 

“I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time, and served his constituents well,” said the President. “But these allegations are troubling.” 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she won’t be intervening on his behalf during the Ethics Committee hearing.

 “I am totally out of the loop, it is independent,” Pelosi said. “It is confidential.”

Congressman Rangel’s tweet comes just as his supporters are organizing an 80th birthday bash for August 11. It is a fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel.

Watch & Listen LIVE