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. Joseph

    With all the things happening in the world, this is what CNN chooses to write about? Shame.

    December 3, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. Larry

    She is not stupid ,she did not vote for him.Why would she think he was calling her,she wasn't in the Clinton administration.

    December 3, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. Chris

    This is actually kind of funny.

    A lot of people in here are saying really rude things, yet they are the people voting for this so-called "change"? Is it change simply because there will be a liberal spin on all the name-calling and finger-pointing?

    When I envisioned Obama's world, I thought of bunnies, birds and balloons – not bitter jerks who no longer have anything to be bitter about, other than the fact that Obama's words are only just that: words.

    I really hope he can provide 1/4 of what he promised. But with people like this in his corner, I can't picture anything changing for the good.

    December 3, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  4. Davonne

    Lol This woman's lucky Obama's a very gracious man.

    December 3, 2008 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  5. Mike

    I remember voting for her when I lived in Miami- she is one of the more reasonable Rs (at least by Fla. standards). If the Republican Party had more like her in high office maybe our country (and her party) wouldn't be in the dumps.

    December 3, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  6. Brad

    Typical replies in this story... A Republican does something that in no way speaks of their achievements (or lack thereof) in Congress and is attacked simply for being a Republican. You idiots out there need to wake up, get over whatever problem you have with yourself, and find something constructive to say.

    December 3, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  7. Sammy


    December 3, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  8. Tab L. Uno

    I enjoyed article. It offers some levity and real-life humor in this time of darkness. I read it with a good deal of tactful decorum and understanding.

    December 3, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  9. Die hard republican

    Good for Obama for reaching out to other side. Did not vote for him, but so far pretty impressed with his choices and actions. I am sure the time will come when I will hate his choices but at least he seems to try to bring this country together. Gives me hope that he will not end up another Pelosi/Reid. Maybe we finally got politician who is American first and Democrat/Republican second...

    December 3, 2008 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Unnamed

    Shame to racist GOP comgresswoman. How wonderful of those criminals to start the Iraq war. I will NOT vote for those racists forever in my life. How nice that person who hate our President-Elect. I want no more GOP party next time we vote in 2010. I hate them.

    December 3, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. Change

    Journalism died in 2008.

    December 3, 2008 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  12. monica

    Lay off the crack, lady, it makes you paranoid!

    December 3, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  13. David Somuah

    Wow these radio shows have everyone scared now.

    December 3, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  14. jerry

    I'll betcha Superpolitician Sara Pallin wouldn't hang up on him.

    December 3, 2008 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  15. Daniel

    Why did not everyone "hang-up" on election day?

    This Congresswoman had the right idea.

    December 3, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  16. CarMaker One

    I would have hung up on him too!!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  17. keeth in california

    Why can't Obama be "very gracious" AND "truly calling [her]" at the same time?

    December 3, 2008 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm |
  18. nate

    This really show how he is reaching both parties!!! His really gonna try to bring change!!!!!! Obama obama obama!!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  19. jose soto

    Thank God!!!! ...She is not President-elect. Now, you know what she will do if she hears a 3am phone call!!!!

    December 3, 2008 11:56 pm at 11:56 pm |
  20. parag

    Sarah Palin's prank call virus infected whole GOP!

    December 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  21. Merle

    ID HANG UP ON OBAMA!! hes still only a Senator till Jan 20th!!!!!!!! for petes sake!!!!!!!!!

    December 4, 2008 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. Kim-Florida

    Correction Mr. Lightfoot, the William Ayers interview was 11/14/2008...May God give you peace...

    December 4, 2008 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  23. c2

    Dude! Republicans are all about the gimmic and no brains. Sorry.

    This is a funny story however. I'll have to admit I might do the same tjing without some sort of protocal to that this.

    At the end of the day you have to be willing to have a sence of of humor and laught at life.

    December 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  24. Steven from Kunkletown, PA

    Holy Mackerel, people. This is a humor piece, lighten up.

    Obama thought it was funny. Rep. Ros-Lehtinen thought it was funny. It was a silly misunderstanding.

    December 4, 2008 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  25. bern

    There sure are a bunch of stupid racists posting today. I wish them all hades.

    December 4, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
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