Rangel: ‘Don’t Leave Me Swinging In The Wind’

Harlem Democrat Lays It All Out There In 37-Minute Speech

WASHINGTON (CBS 2/1010 WINS) — Congressman Charles Rangel took to the floor of the House on Tuesday and delivered an extraordinary and emotional speech.

CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reports he charged that Republican members of the ethics committee are demanding he face a public trial in the hope it helps them win seats in November.

“Think. Think, isn’t this historically the first time that it appears as though partisanship has entered the ethics committee,” Rep. Rangel said.

Furious that Republican members of the House Ethics Committee nixed a deal to allow him to avoid a public trial, Rep. Rangel fired so many salvos at fellow House members Tuesday that some may have thought he was in training to fight in Iraq.

“Hey, if I was you I may want me to go away, too. I am not going away. I am here,” he said to applause.

The 80-year-old, 20-term Harlem Democrat spoke on the House floor for 37 minutes, without notes, pouring his heart out about the 13 ethics charges he faces, and his fury at fellow Democrats who want him to quit because they fear a public trial will move some seats into the Republican column.

“If I can’t get my dignity back here, then fire your best shot in getting rid of me through expulsion,” Rep. Rangel said.

Rangel was at times combative, saying that since the Republicans won’t agree to a plea deal he wants an expedited trial.

“I’m not asking for leniency. I’m asking for exposure of the facts,” he said. “Don’t leave me swinging in the wind until November.”

And at times he was emotional. At one point he called himself, “your colleague and friend.” At another point it was Charlie Rangel who raised a ton of money to help Democrats take control of the House.

“I say what are you going to do to me? Suppose I do get emotional, and think about my life — the beginning and the end. Are you going to expel me from this body? Are you going to say while there is no evidence that I took a nickel, asked for a nickel, no sworn testimony, no conflict, that I have to leave here?” Rangel said.

Rangel did admit to some mistakes. He said he should not have used house stationery to raise money for a school at City College. But, he said, “It’s not corrupt; maybe stupid.”

The ethics committee will meet Sept. 13. The trial will come later.

  • Elmer J. Fudpucker

    Our corporate criminal class has a much easier time of it than Rangel; hardly any of even the worst of them face any prospect of prosecution or of even giving the hardly imaginable sums they’ve stolen BACK.

    Keep your eyes…and minds…on the worst crooks we’ve seen. They are not necessarily the members of public government. We need to go after the corporate crooks and those corporate entities that have created the horrible economic fix we’re all in.

  • Joel Rifkin

    Rangel is a joke. He’s as corrupt as politicians go.

  • Rescue

    Those who live by the sword shall divvy the sword!

  • Big Ugly

    They HAVE to leave him swinging in the wind ….. or swing in the wind with him.

    Like Waters!!!

  • eric

    He won’t resign, and he “doesn’t want to be kept swinging in the wind?”
    They’ll probably just slap him on the wrist, like the late Senator Stevens, who didn’t get prosecuted. Evidently equal justice for all doesn’t exist in the USA, politicians cover up for each other whenever possible, and when it isn’t possible, a slap on the wrist.
    The late, evil Senator Stevens kept his lavish pension and benefits. Is that justice? Crooked politicians are the norm, not the exception.

    I’ll never vote for another Republicrook or Democrook. And what’s a couple of thieves in a den of thieves?

  • Carl Mosconi

    Death would be too kind….

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