Don Imus might not agree with veteran Congressman Charlie Rangel on a whole lot of issues, but he does fully support his reelection bid. While the cowboy-hat-wearing radio host has an apartment in Manhattan, he lives outside of the district, so Mr. Rangel can’t count on his vote. Nevertheless, the transcript of their discussion, which you can view below, details a rather interesting interaction between the two.
“I don’t know why I support you, I don’t agree with you about anything, but I want you to be — if I lived in your district I’d vote for you and I want you to be– I want you to be reelected,” Mr. Imus told Mr. Rangel on Fox Business News this morning. “Why do you suppose that is?”
Mr. Rangel responded by thanking Mr. Imus but expressing general disbelief that people disagree with him as his heart, he said, is always in the right place.
“Well, I appreciate that and I think you don’t have to agree with every member of congress,” he said. “That’s what makes the country so great. Its diversity and nobody wants a political party to dominate everything, so, I appreciate it, you know, I love my country, and I truly believe in everything I do and it surprises me that people differ with me and I normally seek them out in a debate and ask them.”
Mr. Rangel, of course, is in a competitive reelection fight against multiple challengers, notably State Senator Adriano Espaillat and the former political director of the Democratic National Committee, Clyde Williams.
Although the veteran congressman has been doing an aggressive media tour and campaigning heavily, he dismissed his challengers, simply stating that the people in his district “have no clue who the challenger is.”
View the entire transcript, as provided by Mr. Rangel’s House office, below:
All right. 20 minutes till the hour here on the “Imus in the morning” program on the radio all over the world, actually, and on the fox business network, all over the country as well. Please welcome now to the “Imus in the morning” program democratic Congressman Charles Rangel. The real Congressman Charles Rangel. Good morning, Mr. Rangel.
Good morning, good to be back, the real Congressman Charlie Rangel.
Imus: how are you?
I’m okay, how are you this morning.
Imus: I’m good. I don’t know why I support you, I don’t agree with you about anything, but i want you to be — if I lived in your district I’d vote for you and I want you to be– I want you to be reelected. Why do you suppose that is?
Well, i appreciate that and I think you don’t have to agree with every member of congress. That’s what makes the country so great. Its diversity and nobody wants a political party to dominate everything, so, i appreciate it, you know, I love my country, and i truly believe in everything i do and it surprises me that people differ with me and i normally seek them out in a debate and ask them because i have thoroughly convinced myself that a great patient takes care of the working class and that we’d be able to have accumulating wealth and really– not declared and most people don’t challenge me. They differ with me.
Imus: and well, you’re being challenged, speaking of that, in this election for the first time in a long time, right?
No, no, this challenge– [inaudible]
Even in my district, have no clue who the challenger is. And within the democratic party, and in primaries, people have known and supported me. I don’t have the last time i got– having said all of that, one thing that’s different is that the recently a person named draper wrote a book saying immediately after the obama election a series of people put on for this in order to get rid of obama. Number one, treasury secretary was number two and for some reason, i was included with a handful of democratic legislators. A political action committee, and this is all– put me on the hit list and they didn’t care who the opponent would be, but because they want to get me and some other democrats in democratic districts, in other words, nothing to do with getting republicans, so, coming into my congressional district and my opponent says whatever sort and when it’s going directly to voters to support his candidacy and therefore not reported to the federal election, but i feel confident and it’s very unusual for someone in the community to challenge you, but not say anything derogatory about your department. The one complaint they have against me is my length of service, but not quality and experience in district–
Now what’s good, Congressman Rangel? I know a while back you were accused of doing some icky stuff and i can’t remember what the icky stuff was and you don’t need to remind me because as long as i can’t remember what it was, just leave them old dogs lying there somewhere. Let me ask you a couple of questions here. Do you support gay marriage?
I — i support just as much as i do any other marriage. [laughter] well, hello? What happened?
I think he–
He hung up.
Imus: he did?
We lost the connection.
Imus: you don’t think he hung up on the i-man.
Bernie: going well, yucking it up.
Imus: i like him. He’s such a character and a Congressman.
Bernie: he’s an old school character, a war hero, so, everybody loves him.
Imus: wonder how he is on abortion?
I’m sure he’s pro choice. I mean, of course he is.
Imus: well, would not be, but then, i support gay marriage of course. So, but i was hoping that he’d disagree with me on those two issues because i would still support him. That’s where i was coming from. Just sorry– is there a train in here?
Sound like it just arrived.
Connell: what prompts you to choose that as your text message cue?
Well, I’ll tell you because I used to work on the railroad and I just like that and the train comes by.
The Congressman is back on the phone.
Imus: i thought Congressman Rangel, you hung up on me?
No, i support the right of people to engage in marriages, contracts and love and the whole of that business. And makes a hell of a lot more sense than concentrating on the economy and the problems that we have. And even when it gets to same sex marriage and we find all upset about it and i don’t find they’re as upset about old folks not getting health care, kids not getting education. There’s so many issues, moral issues that we should be involved in and yet, the silence of the churches as we see us trying to balance the budget by cutting back on the so-called entitlement programs, sure, we should get rid of waste, but to ignore people who paid trillions of dollars because of unfair taxes filled with loopholes, just doesn’t make sense and political, democratic, moral issue.
Imus: you’re 100%, not that you– don’t need me to tell, but that, you’re 100% right about that. Has the president obama offered to come out and campaign for you?
Well, i haven’t heard that and certainly as we say in some communities about chicken soup when you have a cold, it can’t hurt, but i don’t think it’s necessary and i would like to believe that president has more to do on the economy and jobs than to worry what’s happening among democrats in one small district.
Imus: do you support him in his reelection.
Do you support the president in his effort to get–
Of course, i-man. Quite frankly, i am just surprise at the lack of quality republican candidates and embarrassed after looking at the republican debates and saying to myself. Is that the best we can offer. It’s true a large number of Americans do and should feel disappointed in their government because of their lost dreams, homes, jobs, and kids’ future and where do we go from here? But that is the answer to this solution, then America is in worse shape than i ever believed because that American dream, the engine that made our country great, and that poor folk, and kin had the ability to produce anything and putting people in jail, as we have proven that we can do that more than all the other countries in the world, that should not be our concentration. It should be investing in education and the republicans are talking about eliminating the education department because the guys that wrote the confusion did not exclude that fwr being covered by the state. Well, i truly believe that education, lack of it, is an a threat to our national security. I think it’s important for our survival.
Imus: you’re not helping with mine Congressman Rangel. Here is the voter I am, I’m going to vote for mitt Romney and if I could, I’d vote for you. So you’re not helping me.
The question i would say to you is if you could share with me why you have confidence in mitt Romney? I watched carefully the debate and from a political point of view, if you listen to those people that were vying for the republican nomination, that should be be enough to turn you off. But even if you weren’t listening to that, then you’ve got him cold turkey, then i don’t think we should be be debating what he did as a successful capitalist or successful businessman. No, their job is to make money. He started in doing that. Somehow though that the American government deal with people’s lives not just making money and you know, it’s nothing to indicate that what he has done showed any compassion for those people and when they’re losing a risk.
Imus: this is not helping. This is just not helping me. Well, on that unfortunate note, we’re out of time, but I hope you get reelected Congressman.
Well, thank you so much.