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. Carlos


    December 3, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. BobC

    This is a funny story! Obama has to have a great sense of humor dealing with republicans!

    December 3, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. Pat Green (CA)

    HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA. now that's a good one!

    December 3, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  4. Joe from Dowagiac Mi.

    Good for her. I would have hung up on Obama as well, right after I told him where he could shove his opinions!

    December 3, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  5. JoAnn

    @Willy Brown..

    Don't worry Preasident Elect Obama would not call you!!! You are a HATER!!

    Have a Blessed Day and try to be not so NEGATIVE!!!

    December 3, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  6. scott

    Wow. That's a lot of partisan bickering.
    Seems like she made an honest mistake.

    December 3, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  7. AdamW

    Typical GOP politician. Someone who knows nothing about politics or how to communicate appropriately. Is this how she would treat foreign dignitaries or others she isn't sure about? By hanging up? Extremely childish but I expect nothing less from the GOP.

    December 3, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  8. Richard

    Don't worry, he wouldn't call you.

    December 3, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  9. Pat Pa.

    @ Greg G.

    A little paranoid, aren't you ?

    I think it is very funny. She sure didn't want to become another Palin. LOL

    December 3, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  10. John from Atlant

    She must be a friend of Sean Hannity. Idiots tend to stick together.

    December 3, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  11. KJL

    It's pretty funny, but at least she wasn't babbling like an idiot before she was sure who was on the line. Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen will NEVER end up on Youtube!

    December 3, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  12. janet, ohio

    Dudes, I thought we Repubs were supposed to be hate-mongers, etc. You Dems are seriously hateful - even after you've won! Wow ...

    December 3, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  13. ChicagoSuz

    Does anyone know why he was calling her??

    December 3, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    the woman is an idiot

    December 3, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  15. Phil NY

    The whole world should hang up on this unqualified empty suit.

    December 3, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  16. jean paul

    We have so many things to worry about, like the war in Iraq and a recession, that are so much more important, but instead of doing something about it, people are arguing over such superfluous matters. We are truly a nation in trouble if our ideals lay so low as to insult each other over such menial matters. We as a nation have truly lost our focus.

    December 3, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  17. JBS

    REPUB OF LA. After reading your statement I am totally convinced that you are from another Plant and if your not you should have a “second lobotomy” and you won’t care after that.

    December 3, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. Ward Ciac II

    She's a silly.

    December 3, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  19. Joe from Dowagiac Mi.

    Hey Angelo, you pinhead, McCain was challenged and he produced not only his REAL birth certificate, but the military orders that put his father in the canal zone. Oprah, I mean Obama (well, same thing) had his attorneys fighting every day to keep him from having to produce a single document in federal court. WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO HIDE? Didn't he say his administration would be transparent? Now he refuses to answer questions on his selection of Mrs. Bill Clinton as Secretary of Hate. You picked a real winner there! Looks like a Democratic Nixon.

    December 3, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  20. Dixie

    How could she know? At least she didn't get scammed like Polar Palin.

    December 3, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  21. Joe from Dowagiac Mi.

    Am I the only one who noticed that CNN seldom allows comments on stories that might put Obama in a bad light? But if a story reflect poorly on ANY Republican the comments are open for days.
    "CNN, the most bias place for news"

    December 3, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. Jo-Ann

    @willy brown...

    I don't think Obama would call you anyway....please get over yourself...all your blogs are hateful....WHY?

    Were you so hatefilled in all the other presidential elections?

    December 3, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  23. Matt, Manchester, CT

    Wow, another slow news day, CNN?

    December 3, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  24. Sunny

    Hey Thomas, re-read what you wrote...your grammar is not up to par either partner.

    December 3, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  25. What's the world coming to?

    This is priceless! One Republican gets prank-called by two comedians who say they are the French President, now another hangs up on the President-elect because she thinks it's a prank! Just goes to show how idiotic the GOP has become.

    REPUB, what the %@#& are you smoking?

    December 3, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
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