Rep. Rangel says he seeks fairness in ethics case

Rep. Rangel says he seeks fairness in ethics case
By Verena Dobnik Associated Press
Updated Jul 30, 2010 – 11:08:33 AM

NEW YORK (AP) – Some of U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel’s constituents greeted the embattled politician with a warm handshake on a recent Saturday, saying his decades of public service outshine the ethics cloud hanging over him as he seeks re-election.

“Charlie has done as much for this community as any politician has for theirs—or maybe more,” Herbert Collins, a retired transportation worker, said after Rangel gave a speech on health care. “He deserves another term because I don’t see anyone out there who can do any better.”

But outside, in the sweltering heat, another Harlem resident was in no mood for compromise.

“I don’t think he’s fit to serve in Congress, he’s not reliable to represent us,” said 27-year-old A.G. Ousmane, who was selling $1 bottles of ice-cold water to passers-by from a cooler. “We need someone young and clear like a bottle of water, with a new swagger—not with a history like Rangel’s.”

With temperatures in the 90s, Rep. Rangel arrived July 24 at Harlem Hospital dressed all in white, later telling reporters that he is counting on presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

“I don’t want any special breaks,” he said. “All I want is fairness.”

Rep. Rangel, 80, smiled broadly at supporters in an elevator that took him to the hospital’s second floor, where he spoke at a community health care forum. He emphasized the need for preventive care—especially for conditions like diabetes, which is more common among Black Americans than others.

“Where’s my congressman?” one woman shouted at him before he spoke.

“Hi darlin’! What a welcome!” he responded, to roars of approval.

Supporters handed out fliers showing a picture on Rep. Rangel’s face and the words “He Delivers.”

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