Congressman Charlie Rangel went on The Perez Notes recently to discuss many different facets of his reelection campaign, and directly linked the efforts to defeat him to Republican attacks on President Barack Obama.
“As soon as Obama was sworn in, a group of people led by Newt Gingrich and the Senate Minority Leader McConnell, decided that the way to beat him in the next election was to beat him with money and to attack his character,” he said. “I was a little surprised four years ago to see my name on the list.”
And, this year, an apparently nonpartisan Super PAC targeting incumbents has announced they would spend “six figures” against Mr. Rangel, which Mr. Rangel saw as a continuation of money spent to discredit Mr. Obama’s record. He linked this effort to one of his opponents, State Senator Adriano Espaillat, who technically cannot legally dictate instructions to the Super PAC.
“Now they’re coming back with this money,” he said. “They don’t know my opponent, they don’t know what he stands for, but they know the target. So there’ll be millions of dollars available. I was surprised to hear my opponent say that he’s willing to accept it.”
Mr. Rangel also discussed President Barack Obama’s endorsement, which he’s found himself discussing a lot since he declared he didn’t give a “damn” about it (his campaign later walked that statement back, saying Mr. Rangel was referring to the question, not Mr. Obama). Mr. Obama doesn’t often wade into contested primary elections, Mr. Rangel pointed out, but it’s not exactly unheard of. Most recently he endorsed California Congressman Pete Stark.
“This is a primary race and it would surprise me if the president could have time enough to get involved in any primary races,” Mr. Rangel explained. “His concern is the party, his concern is the majority. And I’m flattered that reporters would ask, but I would not embarrass myself or the president to ask him to get involved in this race.”