December 3rd, 2008
07:37 PM ET
5 years ago

GOP congresswoman hangs up on Obama - twice

Above: Pre-election Obama makes a slightly smoother call.
Above: Pre-election Obama makes a slightly smoother call.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –A Florida congresswoman – convinced she was being prank-called by a Barack Obama sound-alike – hung up on the actual president-elect Wednesday.

Florida Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was told by an aide that Obama wanted to speak with her. According to a statement released by her office, the Republican congresswoman cut off the caller, telling him she thought “this is a joke from one of the South Florida radio stations known for these pranks.” She then hung up.

Obama’s future White House chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel – a fellow congressman – then called her to let her know she’d actually been speaking with the future commander-in-chief. Ros-Lehtinen, convinced the call was another hoax, hung up on him, too.

Finally, an aide told Ros-Lehtinen she had an urgent call from Chairman Howard Berman, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. Still suspicious, Ros-Lehtinen urged the California Democrat to recount a story only both of them would know.

Berman passed the test - and told her she had, in fact, hung up on President-elect Obama.

When an amused Obama called again, Ros-Lehtinen he was either “very gracious” to reach across the aisle by contacting her, or “had run out of folks to call, if you are truly calling me.” Otherwise, she said, Saturday Night Live “could use a good Obama impersonator like you.” The Obama transition team declined comment on the incident.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State nominee Hillary Clinton also spoke with Ros-Lehtinen by phone, relatively uneventfully.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Extra
soundoff (377 Responses)
  1. kbjudge

    Since CNN is doing the moderation of blogs, and they were clearly behind the Democrats, my comments probably won't be posted.

    December 3, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  2. Democratic Vet

    Repub of LA..GET OVER IT!!!! He published his birth certificate. He served on senate...so I am pretty sure he had an extensive background check. Why should he have to continue to prove his patriotism. He won..ITS OVER!

    December 3, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  3. Elizabeth DC from Maryland

    I agree with Greg G. Would someone please give me some real news? Why was he calling her in the first place...I surely hope it wasn't to discuss a cabinet position for if so I am confident President Obama has reconsidered such a conversation.

    December 3, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  4. Nameless

    I'd say "No Way, It's like a dream come true" and then hang up on him.

    December 3, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  5. TyWebb

    Hey, "Willy Brown" – I'm sure he cares.

    December 3, 2008 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  6. Indy in AZ

    Republican scum!

    December 3, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  7. Claire

    The way that radio station treated S. Palin, who can blame the Florida Congresswoman? Joke boomaranged. I think - no - I am already seeing it - and Obama is not even in office yet - a lot is going to boomarang in the next 4 years. Don't think I will read any reply comments. I am outta here after this vent.

    December 3, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  8. Ken, Plano, TX

    John December 3rd, 2008 8:32 pm ET

    "I would hang up on this n- too."

    CNN, did your moderators really find this language "appropriate for posting?"

    December 3, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  9. Dimslie

    Sounds like one of those times when you have the facts mixed up and do the right thing anyway.

    December 3, 2008 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  10. Josh from Montana

    Wow. Wow. Wow. That's all that comes t mind. How did this make the home page of your website CNN? You are a news organization. REPORT NEWS!!

    December 3, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. truthbetold

    A little paranoid? Not wanting a Palin moment I suppose.

    December 3, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Amy Q

    As annoyed as I am by the GOP I agree with those who said this is just a really funny story and nothing more. Let's face it, radio shows are big time known for their pranks anymore and I suspect she didn't want to look as stupid (and ignorant) as Palin getting pranked by the Canadian station... though it would be really, really hard to sound as stupid as Palin.

    I really can't blame her one bit. The worst thing would have been her accepting the call, talking about issues that are not really public knowledge and find out it was actually a prank call from a radio station and she revealed information to the public she shouldn't have.

    Still, pretty funny story and I image they all had a good laugh over it when it was all sorted.

    December 3, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  13. Tomas

    Great story ! But I think it would be even funnier if we could all find out what he wanted to talk to her about. I hope not a job.

    December 3, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. California Gold

    Clearly the woman did NOT want to be lampooned as another Sarah Palin talkin' with the President of France Nicolas Sarkozy.

    Palin has given us so many fond memories.

    December 3, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  15. Brittany

    I wonder how she lost all her brain cells?

    December 3, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  16. Kyle

    I would hang up on him too!

    December 3, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  17. Coultergeist

    So did she apologize or just blame it on the media?

    December 3, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  18. patrick

    Angel wrote"as a Kenyan, there is no record of Obama being born in Kenya….Kenyans would have revealed this a long time ago….no one can lie about these things and a white woman giving birth to a baby in Kenya in the 60s would have been a big deal back then……"

    YOU ARE NOT A KENYAN AND NEVER WILL BE! HAVING TO LIE TO SHOW YOUR INGORANCE IS REALLY A MAJOR LOW. AND TALKING ABOUT AFRICA(KENYA) AND MAKING COMMENTS LIKE "WHITE WOMAN GIVING BIRTH TO A CHILD IN KENYAN BACK THEN WOULD BE A BIG DEAL IS THE MOST UNINFORMED AND LOW LIFE STATEMENT I HAVE HEARD FROM THE LIKES OF YOU!
    GO GET AN EDUCATION!MAY BE THAT WOULD HELP YOU CATCH UP PER INTELLIGENCE OF TRUE AFRICANS

    December 3, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  19. lovable liberal

    Next step: Find an Obama impersonator and prank her for real.

    December 3, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  20. David Levine

    Barak Obama is awesome. No doubt about it.

    December 3, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  21. Marie in California

    I'd hang up on Obama too.....if I knew for sure it was him.

    December 3, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  22. Proteus Decision

    The Congresswoman's reaction is pretty typical of the paranoid Republican mindset: everything is a conspiracy!

    December 3, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. Obama 08

    To "Willy Brown" you must be a republican too!! All of you think just alike, which you all don't think at all !

    December 3, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  24. Sue

    I can't believe that we have morons like this in office still.

    December 3, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  25. enoch needles

    you keep waiting for that call, willy.

    December 3, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
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