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

GOP congresswoman hangs up on Obama - twice

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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. Regniweol

    This may actually be the greatest thing ever.

    December 3, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  2. Carl Justus

    I am not surprised. The last eight years we have heard nothing but lies from this administration and republican leadership so they think every are like them.

    December 3, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  3. Joanna

    Who hit her with the stupid stick?

    December 3, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  4. Kevin

    Very understandable after the Palin-Sarkozy prank.

    December 3, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Jamie

    Not surprised. The woman is as dumb as she is a sham of a senator. I spent three LONG years living in Miami with her as my congress person. UGH.

    December 3, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  6. no bailouts

    this woman is smart, unlike someone else that got a call.

    December 3, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  7. barry...dana pt....calif

    Are all Republicans idiots?

    December 3, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  8. The Blessed One

    And that boys and girls why the GOP are one losing team.

    December 3, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. PJP

    Who can blame her?

    December 3, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. Don


    December 3, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |

    how is this political ticker?

    December 3, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Tom

    Let me be the first to say:


    December 3, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  13. Felines for Freedom

    Ok, I understand some skepticism when you are being told Barack Obama is on the phone, especially when you are a relatively unknown state GOPer, but how many people need to call you and tell you Barack Obama is on the phone before you clue in?

    Even if I was doubtful, I would rather be the butt of a local joke than hang up on President Obama twice. Which does everyone else here think is worse?

    December 3, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  14. I Just Said Thanks, but No Thanks to Another 4 years of g.o.p. corruption, arrogance and incompetence

    I guess she didn't want to be another "Punked Palin".

    December 3, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  15. Ambrose Smith, Borrego Springs, California

    She didn't want to be PALINIZED!!!! (She got spooked!)

    December 3, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  16. Peggy

    Wow. This woman should be forced to resign. This is not like Sarah Palin being pranked that the president of France was calling. Ms. Palin should have realized that the president of a foreign country does NOT call a candidate. This woman should have realized that the president elect DOES call representatives. This demonstrates that she does not have the judgment to serve.


    December 3, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  17. That's OK----

    Al Qaeda will be hanging up on Obama a lot. He might as well get used to it. They've already taunted him and he had no response.

    December 3, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. Patrick Lewis

    This is just stupid. I'm glad other people intervened to get her straightened out, but it's just really really dumb.

    Oh, and by the way CNN, this is not newsworthy.

    December 3, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  19. Florida Voter

    I actually know this woman – she's not my representative but I live near her district. Pretty amusing stuff.

    December 3, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  20. Christian

    ooooo.....awkward, but funny. ; p

    December 3, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. Pepou

    She is more suspicious that dimwit Palin who talked nonsense with 2 Canadian comedians impersonating French President Sarkozy. I am French and the exchange was hilarious. Anyone with 1/2 brain would have known this was a prank. Palin ? Nooooo....

    December 3, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  22. Tammy

    Ros-Lehtinen knew exactly who she was talking to, she is just another angry Republican

    December 3, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. REPUB OF LA.


    December 3, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. Hal

    Is it me or shouldn't she have at least appologized, out of commom decency. Boy have I had enough of these Sara Palin Republicans!

    December 3, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    Lets call this the...."Palin effect"

    December 3, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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