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. penelope Adams

    Not surprising she is the Representative from Florida.

    December 3, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  2. not newsworthy?

    I love how all these people always come on here when CNN runs a story like this, read it, and then comment that it isn't newsworthy. I guess it was worthy enough that you wasted your time reading and then commenting on it.

    Chill out, idiots.

    December 3, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. TexasAnnie *-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*

    To REPUB OF LA.–

    Get a life, nitwit. His "real birth certificate" is on file in Honolulu, Hawai'i. The State of Hawai'i registrar and the Courts of Hawai'i have both ruled it is his valid legitimate birth certificate. You wingnuts that keep harping on this are coming off as really really really stupid.

    Perhaps you have Obama's birth confused with McCain– who was actually born in Panama. Obama was born in Hawai'i, and Hawai'i IS one of the 50 United States last time I checked.

    December 3, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Angelo

    To [REPUB OF LA] ... just like every other thing you guys said about Obama, your candidate always did the same or worse......

    Remember that McCain was born in Panama but I am sure you did not care one hoot where he was born. Technically, McCain could have been challenged but WHO CARES!!!!

    If I thought McCain was better I wouldn't care where he was born. THIS WAS A NON-ISSUE EXCEPT FOR THOSE WHO ARE SORE LOSERS!!! GET OVER IT!!!

    December 3, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. MikeNJ

    hey steve who said all republicans can go to hell........we'll be there starting January 20, 2009.............F.U.

    December 3, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  6. Pier Giacalone

    I don't understand why they kept calling back. If she doesn't want to talk to the president then that's how her district has decided to be represented.

    Lots of luck South Florida!

    December 3, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. NOLARunman

    Repub of LA...please tell me that you are not serious? And please if you are serious...tell me the LA stands for Los Angeles and not Louisiana. We are already known for our shallowness (and our Senators cavorting with prostitues) but please dont put it out there for all the world to see. Wait, wait, let me guess...I bet you are a part of the Right Wingers who judge and condem all with whom you disagree but turn a blind eye to the transgressions of the Republicans.

    December 3, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  8. Stu-Florida

    @brooke
    Oh it was funny... it was very funny because it showed what a dunce she is with her idiotic answers to what she believed was the President of France. The same generic answers she gives anyone who asks.
    As they say in Florida... dumb as a cypress knee!!

    Law against it... no way! you betcha ;>)

    December 3, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  9. MikeNJ

    Hey texasannie are you sure there are only 50 states?....Your President elect thinks there are 54.....maybe you could advise him

    December 3, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    Hey he was talking to a Republiturd...he... should..........have......... talked....... really.......... sloooooowwwww!

    December 3, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  11. Angel

    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......

    December 3, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  12. Micheal From STL

    Can you really blame her? It is all to easy to become the butt of the joke from radio jockeys and internet pranksters. Still this is priceless!LOL

    December 3, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  13. john

    GOP paranoia! wow!!!!

    December 3, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  14. rob

    A true republican, she wouldnt believe a tornado is about to strike until after it picks her up! Maybe she is related to moose hunter.

    December 3, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Kevin Dem VA

    This is a funny story..but thats it. no need to say she's an idiot..im sure many people have gotten pranks from Obama impersonators.

    December 3, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  16. Thomas

    I find it very funny when someone makes a statement like the following:

    "Sounds like something that my rep would do. She isn't very bright, and I can NOT understand why these people in south Florida would re-elect this women. Maybe now they will actually see that she isn't the right person to be in Washington representing our beautiful keys. I would hope that she will offer more respect to the president-elect then she would give to her friend that occupies the White House now. She seems to be buddy-buddy with him, and would except his phone calls immediately."

    If you are going to talk about the intelligence of other people, then you should at least know how to spell and use words correctly. You also should display at least a slight degree of intelligence. The Rep wasn't refusing to talk to President Elect Obama, she thought she it was a hoax. Lighten up and go back to grammar school.

    And Steve when you state that all Republicans should go to hell you clearly demonstrate how much you love and appreciate the freedoms of this country. People like you claim to be tolerant but you inevitably display your true colors.

    December 3, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. Omari, AZ

    Repub of LA,

    Im still waiting to see McCain's Birth Certificate. Considering he was born by the Panama Canal about 100 years ago, I wont hold my breath on that one. You lost, just let it be.

    December 3, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  18. Willy Brown

    I'd hang up on him too.

    December 3, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  19. SensibleFella

    I'd hang up on him also...even if I KNEW it wasn't a prank. If I wanted to hear more about bailouts, socialist policy, and more methods to "spread the wealth", I'd read the writings of Marx and Engles.

    No thanks, spare the .25...you'll only wind up making me pay for the call anyway.

    December 3, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  20. Colin the Salesman

    What seems to have escaped the Rep from Florida's notice is that Obama won, and that she was being accorded a courtesy with that phone call. Its appalling that she chose to hang up on him, and it's probably a sign of what is in store for him from the Republicans: a sign of angry denial of the new reality. Its amazing how fast the Republicans have gone from being the party that prized personal integrity and honor to a vindictive and petty group obcessed with throughing public fits of pique( you have only to refer to Saxby Chambliss' remarks after a runoff: maybe Georgia is the only place where worthless ideas are tolerated in place of solutions).

    December 3, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. ed

    it explains florida doesn't it ? as to calling her and then having to do it again i wouldnt waste time callling her again for any post except fro garbage collector if the shoe fits ...................

    December 3, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  22. Joseph

    Just in case the news hasn't reached the Republicans who hate America so much they would rather us have a President that would continue on the same destructive path we are on now, Obama won is the next President.

    Ok to those who don't have a brain and are as stupid as Sarah "I Can See Russia from my house" Palin is, why don't you al move to Canada, that way the poeple in this country are only the ones with brains, oh when you go can you please take McCain and Palin and Bush with you.

    December 3, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  23. Chris in Va.

    Cliff Lightfoot, What a hypocrite you are spouting bible verses (at least how your warped mind inerprets them) and racist filth in the same paragraph, and you probably wonder why your Repug bretheren were rejected by real Americans. Look in the mirror idiot, you are the problem you coward, and as long as the Repugs cater to morons like you you will continue to see the same result.

    December 3, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. Matt, Chico, CA

    I would hang up if he called me

    December 3, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. Carramea

    Brook Aker. I thought the Sarah Palin prank call was one of the funniest things I ever heard............ She was so stupid and simpering with her giggles I was howling with laughter. The Florida congressman didnt want to look like a fool.......... we need some laughter in this country........ My next favorite hoot was the Sarah Palin turkey fiasco

    December 3, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
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