Rangel’s Big, Big Party

When Charie Rangel blew out his birthday cake last year, he had two wishes: "That we win back the House and I become Chairman of the Ways and Means committee."

That's according to an early invitation obtained by The Observer to his 77th birthday gala, set for August 8 at Tavern on the Green.

His dreams having finally come true, Mr. Rangel is apparently celebrating what one New York City contributor to his campaign is calling "possibly the largest congressional fund-raiser in the history of New York."

The evening's special guest will be Rangel endorsee Hillary Clinton, but she won't be alone: the source told The Observer (and Rangel campaign finance executive director Walter Swett confirmed) that David Paterson, Sheldon Silver, Malcolm Smith and Tom DiNapoli will be joined at the event by playwright-poet-activist-actress Ruby Dee. Chevy Chase will be in attendance and Aretha Franklin is also likely, according to Swett. No word yet if Eliot Spitzer will be on board for the festivities. (And it's probably not the right time to ask.)

Chairs are asked to raise $20,000 and the lowest fund-raiser level — patrons — are expected to bring in $1,000. According to the invitation, proceeds will go to Rangel's National Leadership PAC to ensure the expansion of the Democratic majority in Congress.

"Most of all," Rangel writes in the invite, "we celebrate living in the greatest democracy on earth, a country where dreams can come true and a high school dropout from Lenox Avenue can get a second chance from the GI Bill and make something of himself."