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. CS King

    So much for the Cuban embargo......

    December 3, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. ATL

    The real problem is that she couldn't believe after all the half-truths, lies,etc. the Republicans made up about Obama, that he really was serious about reaching out to them. Mostly because they would never do the same if in his position. I am afraid as much as the new President want to be bi-partisan in his approach, that it just is not in the nature of Republicans like this representative to be so. To his credit he will try, but just like the story of the frog carrying the scorpion across the river, he will get stung. The good news is that in 2010 the voters will throw out even more of these lunatics whose policies (or lack thereof) have brought this country to the brink of disaster.

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

    She is as stupid as Palin and just as insignificant.

    December 3, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Dan in Chicago

    Well, Palin thought she was talking to French President Sarkozy when it was actually a Canadian radio station.... and you can't blame her, a single congresswoman out of 475, to doubt that the President-elect was trying to contact her.

    December 3, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  5. colin

    mikeNJ,

    THE 50 Sates
    puerto rico
    district of columbia
    guam
    mariana islands

    looks like 54 to me, maybe they arent all states, but technically 3 of those 50 states arent states either, their comonwealths. so yeah, shut up

    December 3, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  6. Scully

    I don't live in Florida.

    Representative Ros-Lehtinen demonstrated some "street smarts" by vetting the callers. And that's what the story is about.

    Good for her. More of that is needed in DC.

    December 3, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. DeDe

    To Cliff lightfoot

    As an African American woman who married to very great African American man and 3 wonderful African American children. We are very well educated Business Owners and how ignorant of you to sterotype all African Americans. There are just as many "white" people who are dead beat "sperm donors" as blacks. Grow up and think before you speak. Ignorance like yours will never die, because you continue to teach it to your children and other mindless sheep who are willing to listen to you!!!

    December 3, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  8. Pat in IL

    I can't really blame her for being suspicious of a prank call after the one that Palin got. Please, people, enjoy the fact that Obama is not only tolerant, but also has a sense of humor and could see that this was just a goofy mistake that anybody could have made. Why is anybody taking this so seriously and making such hateful remarks?

    December 3, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  9. LM75

    Hello, you lost. Get over it,.

    December 3, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. amy

    OBAMA doesn't have an impressive English dialect. He sounds like a n IDIOT. Sorry guys, but he doesn't sound intelligen at all–can't stand to listen to him talk.. ...BORING.

    December 3, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  11. ADAM

    I PREDICTED OBAMA WOULD WIN ALONG TIME AGO. I AM ALREADY WORKING ON 2012 216 ELECTIONS.

    PALIN WILL NOT BE PRESIDENT EVER. SO PLEASE GET OVER THAT. AND GET OVER IT QUICKLY.

    December 3, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  12. DeDe

    John...one word...ignorant!!!!

    December 3, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. Mike

    I'm a Republican and yes we lost. Some can't seem to accept that. Too bad for them because none of us can afford for Obama to fail. I wish him well and hope he is able to help pull us out of this mess but I highly doubt it. No one person, or for that matter one administration, can fix this any more than one man or administration put us in this mess. If you think Bush is to blame for the entire world's woes then you are a sad individual who puts too much credit on the lap of the US President.
    And Oh by the way, if we lost and are supposed to get over it, then why can't the Democrat's in California accept the fact that the voters decided to void the gay marriage thing and why can't they get over the fact that they lost too. One word for you Dems, HYPOCRITES. Same old Democrats. It's either your way or it's wrong. You don't get that some people, millions of them actually, disagree with you. Get off your high horse and stop trying to push your liberal agenda on everybody.

    December 3, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  14. Flex

    Republicans are filed with hang ups.

    December 3, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  15. Sue

    I feel sorry for you, Cliff. Lots of people, including me, do not say the Pledge for religious reasons (how can you pledge fidelity to a piece of cloth, anyway? What does that even mean?) That doesn't make me bad or a traitor.
    And as far as good and evil, I'd say that the Bush years have more than shown us evil wouldn't you? Killing innocents in the Middle East, torturing people, lying about WMDs, killing a man who was supported by us because he held the Taliban at bay, but he was a convenient target for Bush's war, eroding our freedoms, tapping our phones illegally. It seems the republicans are the ones who can't recognize evil. What is it Bush has on you? He hasn't kept us safe...look at what his spending spree has done to the economy, the deficit, the debt. Bin laden said early on that our failing economy would be the demise of the US, and Republicans put us on the fast track to that. Obama is promising nothing except a hard trip back to a great America...I'm ready to work for the country, are you?

    December 3, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  16. Iowa Mom

    Come on, it's a funny story.

    December 3, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  17. mr. impartial

    let's just remember everyone, both of these candidates are American-born and citizens of this great country. President-elect Obama was born in Hawaii and Senator McCain in the Panama Canal Zone on an American Naval base, which means both were born on US soil. Please stop bickering over this pointless subject.

    December 3, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. José M. Pulido

    To all those who are "still waiting to see President elect Obama's birth certificate," If they are open-minded and fair, would they also like to see Sen. John McCain's Panamenian birth Certificaet? He was born in 1936 "in Panama" and still ran for president.

    December 3, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. ADEMOLA OMISORE

    THE SADIST WILL ALWAYS BE WITH HIS OR HER OWN PERSONAL DISAGREEMENT.THEY WILL NEVER HAVE A GOOD THOUGHT WHETHER BEING GOOD OR BEING BAD BECAUSE THERE IS ALWAYS A RAPE ON THEIR THOUGHT.ONCE U DON'T HAVE NO RESPECT FOR YOUR LEADER SUCH THING WILL TURN AROUND ON U,EVEN IN THAT UR DARK AND LOCAL OFFICE.KEEP AWAY UR PERSONAL EVIL NO MATTER WHO IS UR LEADER TO TEAM UP AND BRING DEATH TO LIFE(america)FOR THE INTEREST OF PEOPLE WHO ELECTED YOU.FINALLY,IS HANGING UP A PHONE IS THE ANSWER TO WHAT YOU ARE BEING ELECTED FOR.KEEP IT UP FOR THE PROGERSS OF UR PEOPLE.

    December 3, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  20. Michael

    Quote from Thomas: ". . . she thought she it was a hoax. Lighten up and go back to grammar school." Wow, way to school him–thank the maker you were never my grammar teacher.

    December 3, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  21. BAD SIGN

    PARANOIA!!

    THATS A SIGN. A BAD SIGN WHATEVER IT IS SHE WAS BEING CALLED FOR.

    BAD SIGN.

    December 3, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  22. Rush Lameduck

    REPUB, AA is now accepting new drunks for the twelve step program,please leave your laptop home though.

    December 3, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. Vendo Thefastlane

    Blame the terrible radio hosts who trick the listeners into thinking these pranks are legal. Any prank has to either be revealed to the "victim" before recording or it is prepared and packaged with the consent of the "victim". Of course not every lawmaker should know every law, though... It's sadder that this representative listens to hack morning radio when there are MUCH smarter ways to get your morning dose of comedy talk. OK? Terrific!

    December 3, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  24. troy

    I love to see bitter people talk about Obama. You guys lost, we black people won. Get over it. hahaha.

    December 3, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  25. PZR

    Hey, Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, is your refrigerator running?

    December 3, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
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