September 28th, 2009
05:13 PM ET
11 years ago

Rangel tells Obama to back off of local politics

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, is making it known he's not happy with President Obama's recent meddling in the state's 2010 gubernatorial race.

Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, is making it known he's not happy with President Obama's recent meddling in the state's 2010 gubernatorial race.

(CNN) - Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York, is making it known he's not happy with President Obama's recent meddling in the state's 2010 gubernatorial race.

"The whole thing to me was not presidential," Rangel told the New York Daily News over the weekend. "It wasn't good for the president, and it wasn't good for the governor."

The comments came a week after the New York Times reported that administration officials had asked New York Rep. Gregory Meeks to convey to embattled Gov. David Paterson that Obama would prefer he not run for re-election next year.

The Times reported that the White House is concerned about Paterson's dismal poll numbers becoming a drag on the entire Democratic ticket in New York next year, and would prefer Andrew Cuomo - the state's popular attorney general - carry the party's banner instead.

Rangel also directed fire to his Democratic colleague Meeks, whose district encompasses nearby Queens, for his involvement in the discussions.

"I wouldn't want to be anywhere near it then or now," he said. "And anyone who has been involved in this has to be embarrassed. Period."

It's not the first time Rangel has been critical of the White House's political outreach: The 79-year-old congressman expressed similar frustration last May when the administration actively discouraged New York Democrats from challenging newly appointed Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in a primary.

Meanwhile, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs would not confirm a separate report in the Daily News on Monday that said the president will not get involved in New York City's mayoral race, where the Democratic candidate, Bill Thompson is trailing Independent Michael Bloomberg by nearly 20 points, according to recent polls.

A spokesman for Rangel confirmed to CNN the accuracy of his comments to the Daily News.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. Matt Shine

    Some of you need to actually figure out what is going on here before going on an Obama-bashing campaign. According to Gov. Patterson (one of the few who would actually know the whole story), neither Obama or his White House staff ever told him to not run, rather, expressed concerns about his poll numbers and how it might impact the NY ticket.

    As Obama IS the leader of the Dem party, I think expressing concern is not out of the question.

    September 28, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  2. GR

    Obama is correct in trying to further the interests of all Democrats in New York. While Patterson did the responsible thing, he did it in a way that angered many voters. And now there is no turning this around. It would be better for Cuomo, who is well-liked, to lead the party.

    September 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. Angela

    Rep. Rangel thinks that he has more authority and respect than he actually posesses. Obama is the head of the democratic party and should be concerned with every party ticket. This political manuevering is not new....and if the good governor whose approval ratings are around 17% would not drag the entire democratic ticket down, no one would ask that he step aside. Furthermore...Gov. Patterson did not support Obama in his election bid, He supported Hillary Clionton! Furthermore...when a Kennedy was contemplating a seat in New York....with the encouragement of Obama, the good Governor had a deaf ear! It seems to the kids would say, he played himself. Now it is time to contemplate a loss and step aside....cause he needs the President a lot more than the President needs him.

    September 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. calvin

    mr obama is the leader of the democrat and he can make any suggestion he likes. if i will help the party let him alone.

    September 28, 2009 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  5. Rob

    How dare he say that to the Chosen One! For shame little Congressman! You have spoken negatively to his most holy on high, the lord Barrack. After all, isn't that why he was coronated...I mean voted in? To show us poor fools the errors of our ways. I'm sure Obama thought that by voting him in the peasants...I mean people were telling him he could have his hands in everything.

    I guess we'll have to wait until Bill Ayers writes Obama's response. Don't worry though people of New York, if it's anything like the situation with troops to Afghanistan, you all won't have to worry about any decision from Obama for a while.

    September 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  6. Fool me once shame on u, fool me twice... err...

    Hey Charlie, democrat to democrat, the less you show up in the news, the better off we're. Thanks!

    September 28, 2009 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  7. Frederick in SC

    Boy, is Rangel ever delusional if he thinks he can diss the president and not take heat for it. What a worthless jerk. There are 100 other ways he could have respectfully made his point. "unpresidential" was not one of them.

    Let's feed into the angry mobs and racism Charlie. Nice touch.

    September 28, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. kimberly

    the gov is an idiot, he has a 18% approval rating, NO ONE wants to lose that seat to a republican, and this selfish idiot is staying in this race KNOWING he is damaging the party, he is no better than the idiots that run as green party or independents on the presidential tickey, they wont win, but they dont mind costing their TRUE party the election, IE Al Gore losing to Bush, largely in part (besides the corupt bush running FLorida) because of the idiot running as an ultra liberal independent...Patterson should be ashamed of himself. Obama is right and he knows it!

    September 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. 2010 can't get here fast enough

    The fraud in chief will meddle in Virginia, New York and Massachusettes politics, but the gutless fraud can't break himself away to talk to General McCrystal?

    Go fly to Denmark O' "campaigner in chief" you are useless here, do me a favor, stay for about 3 years or so.

    Against Obamacre 56 %t – for Obamacare – 41 %.

    Game changer Barry, nah, GAME OVER.

    Lameduck before year two.

    September 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. annie s

    Smart move, Dems – call your President out in the press. No wonder we can't get a real "change" agenda going.

    September 28, 2009 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Helen, NY

    Charlie, you are a con artist. You should go away. one crook is giving advise to another crook. Mainstream media likes you both.

    September 28, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    oh shut up and get over yourself, Rangel.....

    September 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Rick

    Ragel says "back off"? Pot calling the kettle..........? Corruption, graft, greed, slight of hand, demanding "back off"?


    September 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Freedom

    Even thought this man his a Tax cheat. He is right the federal goverment has no right to get involved in state politics. Unless your Obama because the constitution means nothing to him.

    September 28, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. Jerry in Florida

    Representative Rangel, I have never been one of your fans, nor of Mayor Patterson for that matter. However, after this news piece, I am starting to warm up to you.

    It's about time someone in the Black community has the guts to tell President NObama that he is NOT the King of the United States. Instead of paying attention to issues that are in essence none of his business, he should be paying more attention to the economy, health care, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and other issues that are really important to the American voters. Also, a good number of Americans elected him as President, not a TV star. I would have to guess he’s addicted to that teleprompter.

    Instead of trying to "rein in" governors, he should be trying to control most Democratic morons in Congress. Particularly Pop Up/Plastic Pelossi, Harry Reed, Barn Mouth Barney Frank, and of course, our own Florida's Catty Castor.

    Representative Rangel, don't ever allow President NObama to dictate what you can and can not say.

    In case you are wondering, YES!, I am a life-long Democrat.

    September 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  16. Boytjie

    Maybe it is time for Charlie Rangel to act more like a statesman and less like a tax cheat.

    September 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. aware

    Obama is a controller so don't expect him to back off of anything including where the Olympics is held! 😦

    Roll on 2010 & 2012. πŸ™‚

    September 28, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Devin

    Any chance we can get Obama to lay off National politics?

    September 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Rangel is wrong.....

    According to the New York Post, 9/16/09, Governor Paterson's "continuing struggles have led a vast majority of New York voters – some 70 percent – to conclude that he should not run for governor next year." So basically 70 percent of New York voters agree with the President on this issue. That same article points out that 'the displeasure crosses party lines, with 65 percent of Democrats saying [Paterson should] skip the 2010 campaign. So the majority of New York Democrats agree with the President on this issue too. Mr. Rangel, perhaps you should start thinking about your parties' ability to regain the governorship and stop giving Gov. Paterson political cover.

    September 28, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  20. Melissa

    Since when is it any different for Obama to do it than any other President in history? They have all done it.

    September 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  21. James

    This country is falling apart rapidly, and here is our President worried about the governor's polls, he should look at his own. All mouth no action, I guess the wars, unemployment, healthcare are a piece of cake, yet nothing gets done. A real disgrace to the office.

    September 28, 2009 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. James

    He's correct. The President needs to stay quiet on state politics.

    September 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  23. Deborah

    The first and only time I would agree with Rangel. Obama needs to do his darn job. I am really tired of his talk show; Olympic bidding, state meddling and wish he would do what he was elected to do.

    September 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  24. Gene

    1) Who cares whether it's presidential or not. Obama saw numbers and told Patterson that his chances of being re-elected are slim to none.. and that it wasn't worth his time to run. Ok.. so let Patterson run.. burn through millions of dollars.. and in the end losing. At least Obama did not go there to sugarcoat the situation.. he went in and he was honest with Patterson. How people can't respect that is beyond me.

    2) To all you "Tax loving democrat" leaving comments. I would much rather have a tax and spend loving president than a borrow and spend president. You guys always scream about the national debt.. yet you don't want to do anything to help it. You'd rather we borrow the money and go further into debt than actually pay for anything yourselves.. you're all hypocrites. And by the way.. Obama is not spending more money than Bush did... you only notice it more because he spends it on improving our own country.. instead of other countries. Some call that socialism.. I call that common sense.

    September 28, 2009 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. Matt

    Charlie you thieving disgrace you should just shut up and step down. Yeah I agree Obama should also shut up and keep his nose out of New York's business. That may work in Chicago but in NYC we don't play that. But you, you little creaton should just shut the pie hole and step down.

    September 28, 2009 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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