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. ck

    Geez, I'd hang up on him too.. lol

    December 3, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  2. steven harnack

    cliff lightfoot should change his name to cliff litehead , then take a running jump off one.

    December 3, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. bill

    She's a Republican. What do you expect?

    December 3, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Tom in Delaware

    That's because she knew he was going to ask her to lead the CIA....nobody wants that job in his administration because of the Eric Holder nomination.

    People are leaving the CIA so fast that they are running job ads on TV.

    Hey Barack, why don't you get John Kerry to do it, he wants a job pretty bad since you dissed him for Hillary.

    December 3, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. Nick

    The election is done. Finished. Get over it.

    December 3, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  6. Sharon

    She most likely didn't want to appear as stupid as Sarah Palin when she was punked......Repub Paranoia...

    December 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  7. Pythonian

    Guess you have to understand this one, after all Palin thought she was talking to the French President during the campaign.

    December 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  8. Obama reaching out

    I am not surprised that Obama would call a congressperson or even a civilian. This is the type of person that he is- he doesn't put himself above anyone and we have seen that he treats every around him with respect. (unlike our last president who didn't listen to anyone)

    He is a good person and no matter how much some folks want to hate him, his values and core decency towards a fellow man/woman will not change.

    December 3, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  9. Banner

    This is funny at first, but then it is also a bit worrisome.

    Maybe this highlights a problem that needs to be addressed. The people running our country should have a secure line of communications that ought to prevent regular people from generating this "prank" calls that might one day be responsible for an important missed call.

    December 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Nick

    Very funny. And after the Palin phone call with a radio station, I wouldn't blame her.

    December 3, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  11. singasong

    Sarah Palin got pranked and you thought "hah, she believed him!" now a GOP thinks it's a prank from recycling , "oh no! I better have Gates stay on" Obama and she should have known?

    December 3, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Sue

    No wonder the Dems are now in charge. Thank God.

    December 3, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    @REPUB OF LA. December 3rd, 2008 7:52 pm ET

    STILL WAITING TO SEE HIS REAL BIRTH CERTIFICATE !

    ****************************************************************************
    You're on the wrong blog, buddy.

    FOX NOISE is probably what you're looking for.

    December 3, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  14. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    This is the same woman who appears regularly on Bill Maher's program and exhibits an incredible level of denial when it comes to Bush.

    And, quite frankly, she's under the impresion that not only is she the smartest knife in the drawer but the only knife in the drawer.

    As regards Obama's real birth certificate – you right-wing dingbats are wearing the tin foil hats too tight; loosen it up!!!

    December 3, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  15. daune

    who could blame her, at lease she is smarter than sarah palin,remember those french canadain radio comedians.

    December 3, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. truther

    Dont you see what going on here, people?! Here is solid proof of the Liberal Media bias! I mean, why else would they cover a story about THE PRESIDENT-ELECT of the USA?!!!

    (and for you repub/neocons/idiots, this comment is what you would call sarcasm.)

    December 3, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  17. sachincko

    I do not think this was funny at all. I am stunned at the disrespect people who are supposed to "love this country" show for the leader. How can America begin to heal when it is awashed in disrespect and racism. No one black or white would have hung up on John McCain whether or not we agreed with him or voted for him. If you don't respect the Man, respect the Office and at least give the Man a chance.

    December 3, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  18. José M. Pulido

    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Forida) hanging up on Soon-to-be president Barack Obama’s and future White House chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel shows her despot and arrogant attitude. She should resign if she had any honor and dignity. Not only that, but she tried to hide her despotism by making up a story on how it happenned and impose it on all others. But it is no surprise, her cynicism represents the whole GOP's purpose and attitude toward the American people; they think they own this country. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's petulance is a disgrace and an embarrasement to all Cuban-Americans. She should be voted out next time she runs for office.

    December 3, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  19. bill for barack

    Just another Republican idiot – but then, aren't they all ?
    The ones that aren't treasonous are just plain stupid.

    December 3, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  20. miguel

    Jamie,
    I'm afraid you're the dumb one (or at least not very literate). She is a representative not a senator.

    December 3, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  21. yellow dog democrat

    Maybe she wanted to talk to the President of France!! Yes?

    December 3, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  22. Pete Collins

    Paranoid nutcase!
    Florida probably deserves to be represented by that lunatic as a little bit of punishment for their failure in the 2000 election that gave us Bush.

    December 3, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  23. MichelleS

    Oh my God people...get a grip. What is with all of the negative remarks. The whole thing is supposed to be funny. Do any of you have a sense of humor? Apparently not, you immediately go for "she shouldn't be in office," "she's a stupid Republican," for crying out loud, no wonder this country is so divided when you can't even read a story just for the fun of it.

    December 3, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  24. Ooops!

    Hey Dems, let's lighten up on these GOPs. Let's everyone lighten up!

    I can understand how anyone could make this mistake. This Rep. deserves the benefit of the doubt.

    Who *doesn't* deserve it are the idiots on these boards that use this space to vomit back the long-repudiated lies about President-elect Obama. Please look at snopes.com and put a sock in it, finally!

    December 3, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  25. Mean Green

    Maybe LA Repub was told the birth certificate the state of Hawaii stands behind and is available to anyone who wants to see it was a fake by the aliens that keep abducting him. One day the truth will come out that Obama was sent from space to solve our problems because humans weren't able to do it ourselves.

    Ahhhh I'm soo looking forward to 8 more years of conspiracy theories by members of a party that have almost destroyed the economy and military not to mention our reputation around the world in the few years they were in power.

    Put on your tin foil hats guys. Obama's about to turn on the mind control machine.

    December 3, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
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