Congressman Charlie Rangel began his campaign for reelection this morning with an event in Harlem. Front and center in his campaign pitch was a repetition of parts of the strange speech he made on the house floor the other day. Rangel did his best to turn the tables and make the debate about the way the Media is covering the story and the ethics panel not scheduling an exact date for a hearing.
This time though, he seemed to change his story a bit. On the house floor Rangel seemed to say that he did some of the things he was charged with, but that was out of insensitivity, forgetfulness etc, but none of the violations were acts of corruption. He even apologized. Now he talks about “fighting those vicious charges.”
He encouraged the Press to go to his website, read the law and the responses he gave to the charges.
“I’m not asking for leniency,” he said. But I want the ethics committee “to give me a hearing.” As you can see by the video clip below, he repeats the call to for the ethics committee to give him a hearing, which is to be scheduled when the house comes back after the break:
It looks as if for the Primary anyway, Charlie Rangel will be running against the ethics committee. He keeps using rhetoric such as “when and if they give me a hearing,” “I am sure that they will let me defend myself,” all implying that there is a chance that the committee will not allow him to respond to the charges. There is no chance of that. When the 13 charges against Rangel were announced, the general timing of the hearings was announced also, Rangel is fully aware of that. But by making the statements that he is totally innocent, rather than guilty of mistakes rather than corruption, and running against the ethics committee he reflects the heat away from him and onto Congress, thus taking the scandal charges out of the primary equation.