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. ronjon of Burnsville

    Michelle Bachman - the even dumber Minnesota Republican congresswoman - told her earlier to beware un-American media pranksters.

    December 3, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. cal carpenter

    Boy some of you liberal Dems really harbor deep hatred for other people of whom you know nothing about...In my State radio talk show folks pull this kind of stupidity as you call it on folks all the time, so the blast that this woman is dumb, idiot, etc. is a most vicious attack by hate mongerers.....One of you said she was your "Senator" and apparently you are lying because she is a " Representative" which tells me you are as dumb as you say she is!!!

    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  3. steve

    she is a right wing cuban american has-been. i know many cubans here in tampa and they think the bush admin. causede a lot of problems with the cuban embargo and they are sick of it. this is the first election that the cuban-americans finally woke up to the miami 1960s crazy cuban lobby. this represntative is a hard line republican and probably a racist who hates obama. obama will be good for the cubans esp. when he lifts the embatgo and cubam americans can finally see their family and send them money. this representative is a right wing racist idiot.

    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  4. Eric

    I am still waiting to evict rep of La out the country as soon I am elected.

    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. READY99


    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  6. Alice

    I agree with the poster who said it is better to risk being the butt of a joke than to hang up on the President-elect.

    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. voter


    where is your true birth certificate?

    December 3, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Chris in Va.

    Repube of La.-I fully support your constitutional right to make an arse out of yourself, but you lost, get over it, take it like an adult.

    December 3, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. common sense 4u2

    You need to get a hobby REPUB OF LA.

    December 3, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  10. jason

    it's pretty ironic that some idiots are asking to see obama's "real" birth certificate. putting aside the fact that he was born in hawaii, john mccain actually wasn't born in the united states. he was born in panama. that is a fact. look it up.

    December 3, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. Jeff

    Hell, I'd hang up on him too!

    December 3, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. John

    Where does Jamie get off calling this woman "dumb" when he improperly labels her as a Senator? She's a House member. UGH indeed.

    December 3, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  13. Hannah Stevens

    I am really beginning to wonder about republicans. Do they all have a screw loose? You must read The President's Wife. Go to for more info.

    December 3, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  14. Mike

    I'd hang up on Obama too.

    December 3, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Peter (CA)

    Repub of LA-

    Give it up already will you? The "official" certificate is not a public record for viewing. The copies have been viewed and the state of Hawaii has said they are authenic.

    What more do you want?

    December 3, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. Tyler W

    wow talk about schizophrenic paranoia...

    how do you know ANYONE is who they say they are?

    maybe everything is a prank...

    never trust a phone again. only speak in person. wrap tin foil on your head so they cant read your thoughts......


    they've already proved his birthplace long ago. I suggest you open your eyes and close your mouth, and maybe youll see it.

    December 3, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. george M.


    December 3, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  18. Nick

    Another sore looser! These born-again Republicans sure can hold a grudge....

    December 3, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  19. Ron

    Wow, you Dems really hate Republicans, don't you? If it was a Dem this happened to, you'd think it was funny.

    And for the record, Jamie, she is a Representative, not a Senator, so you might want to rethink exactly who is stupid.

    December 3, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  20. p

    It is a complement to President-Elect Obama that she reacted as if he saw him as so important that he would never call her casually. Her reaction is understandable given the recent Palin prank; however, even if she did not believe that Obama was actually on the phone, the correct response was to speak respectively and intelligently, so that even if she was being taped, she would not look ridiculous.

    December 3, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  21. mattnkeywest

    Sounds like something that my rep would do. She isn't very bright, and I can NOT understand why these people in south Florida would re-elect this women. Maybe now they will actually see that she isn't the right person to be in Washington representing our beautiful keys. I would hope that she will offer more respect to the president-elect then she would give to her friend that occupies the White House now. She seems to be buddy-buddy with him, and would except his phone calls immediately.

    December 3, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |

    And this is news because?

    December 3, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  23. Robin



    December 3, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  24. Jack in Florida


    December 3, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  25. You don't need to know my name

    Well, what else can you expect from a conservative!

    December 3, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
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