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. Carli - Seattle, WA

    That is just too funny!

    She'll never be able to live that one down. That was great for today's chuckle!

    December 3, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  2. Ted

    Ha, hilarious! Not the brightest woman on Earth, but for someone in congress, hey, it's expected.

    December 3, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  3. David in West Virginia

    This doesn't sound like a very astute congresswoman to me, but I may be wrong. One would think the office of the congresswoman would have caller ID or callback on her telephone to prevent this from happening. I wonder if she is that naive, stupid, or what? I don't think I would be hanging up on t he President-Elect and if so, not a second call from his Chief of Staff. Sounds to me like she isn't too bright, but again she's a republican. That says it all!

    December 3, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  4. DA

    She evidently doesn't have a lot of faith and trust in her staff. Maybe she's concerned they "pal around" with Governor Palin's staff.

    December 3, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. 2young2vote

    haha, that's funny. That's how wars start. Hopefully this doesnt happen again.

    December 3, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. MikefromDC

    The GOP have a bright future with such a bright star as the congresswoman from Florida. Maybe she can be the next VP nominee.

    December 3, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  7. ohio for oboma

    go online if you want to see his birth cert. retard from repub for out of space.

    December 3, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |

    I can understand why she hung up it's not every day the Pres – Elect calls you and I for one wouldn't want to be a "Palin."

    December 3, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  9. Kay

    Maybe it's just me but I thought it was funny and I'm a Obama supporter.

    December 3, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  10. Howard Roark

    A transition team loaded with lobbyists, and a cabinet loaded with entrenched Washington politicians…yep, change you can believe in.

    December 3, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  11. Lyndon from CA

    She should be representing the people of Missouri not Florida. Isn't it just like a Republican though, to react the way she did.

    December 3, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Greg G.

    Why does this article miss answering the obvious question - why was Obama calling a Florida state representative? Is he actually calling state representatives individually around the coutnry? Or is there some reason the president elect should be involved in Florida's state politics?

    How about some actual news in the middle of your cutesy fluff piece, CNN?

    December 3, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Smart Move

    Probably a wise decision-I would have hung just in case it was ODumbo.

    December 3, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. This is a recording

    Let all republican congress people and senators beware – After January 20th you may get a call from somebody claiming to be President Obama. The irony of it is - it will be the President – don't hang up

    December 3, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Michael Lane

    ummm...people should lighten up. This is funny stuff. I can see why she was sceptical; shock radio hosts do work in tandem. If she was not expecting a call from the President Elect then she had cause to be wary. By the way, I am not a Republican and supported Obama.

    December 3, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. cliff lightfoot

    How does one judge someone like Obama when the media covers for him at every turn. A man who won't say the pledge to our flag, lies about the friendship with Mr. Wright, (we aren't stupid), best friends Mr. Ayers, and Ms. Dohn. Has done nothing in his life except write books, and spend three Rookie years in the senate. The Bible says in the last days that People will call evil good, and good evil, they will not know the difference. How about a man who wants to be President, but ran off to Berlin, Germany to speak to people who can't vote for him?...the Germans listened to him, eyes glazed over and mouths open, just like they did in 1933 to another would be Global God. The only change this man has is his own lifestyle, from the Senate to the White house, he's praying to Allah that the Clinton dream team will come up with an answer for him, just wait. Oh yes, we still don't have an afro-american in the white house, his grandparents were white, his mother was white, and the Sperm donor was black. The white side of his life raised him, fed him, and sent him to College, the black side skipped out as is the norm. At least Obama and a park bench can do what his half-black brothers can't. they can support a whole family................................

    December 3, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. You Lost. Get over it.

    All of you idiots whining about Obama's birth certificate are pathetic. You lost. Get over it.

    December 3, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. Elaine

    REPUB of LA: Oh, grow up.

    December 3, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. ED FL:

    Remember this is a cuban refugee who probably got educational benefits ,medical benefits,social security benefits and every other freebe that the US gave her family and relatives of cubans. Cussed out Castro then went to Cuba on a political junket and took her teen age daughter and allowed this child to hug and behugged while she stood there with a big smile on her face. This loser will do any thing to further agitate Cuban American cooperation to her constituancy in miami because it draws votes and furthers her own benefits. She will be gone along with all the other Cuban poiticians in the south Florida near future. Hopefully we will open both borders and restar real[HUMAN RIGHTS ON BOTH SIDES] soon.

    December 3, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. fred a durnell

    sounds like most republicans i know

    and i pray that that my GOD takes care of our president elect!!!!!

    December 3, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Alison

    REPUB OF LA.: Just for the record here, he wouldn't even been allowed to run if wasn't a US citizen. I mean how ignorant are you? You're just mad because McCain lost. Get over it. It's done.

    December 3, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. Cynthia

    Good for her! I think it is funny and I probably would have done the same thing.

    December 3, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  23. lynde

    To "Repub of LA" – would this be the first birth certificate that you've requested for a public official? Step away from the kool-aid!

    December 3, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. Rob

    What is this world coming to? I'm a democrat, but I don't blame her one bit. We seem to live in a society where people have resorted to amusing themselves at other people's expense. Are we really that childish, still?

    December 3, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. Missouri

    silly season???? lol President-Elect Obama has a great sense of humor!!! AND now she owes him one. lol

    December 3, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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