Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), who barely squeaked past his Democratic challenger in Tuesday’s primary, said there was nothing wrong with Sen. Thad Cochran’s (R-Miss.) strategy of getting Democratic-leaning African-Americans out to vote in the GOP primary.
“Of course not. My God, I think that’s what it’s all about,” Rangel told CNN. “Of course, this is unusual for states to allow people to join in their primaries regardless of their registration. But in the case of Mississippi when clearly they look at the Tea Party candidate and looked at Thad Cochran, they made a determination as to which would be better between the two for Mississippi and, my God, it just seems to me it makes a lot of sense in view of the fact that the Tea Party is so unpredictable and actually don’t care too much about the Republican Party or the country as we can see as to what happened with Eric Cantor.”
Rangel barely held off state Sen. Adriano Espaillat, who hasn’t conceded pending an official tally. About 1,800 votes separated the two.
“I did very well in all parts of the district and while he hasn’t conceded I would think the absentee ballots would not make a difference in the outcome of the election,” he said.
President Obama steered clear of the re-election fight of the scandal-tainted 84-year-old congressman, and refused to endorse Rangel two years ago as well.
“And so quite frankly, until you raised it, I’ve never even thought about having the president of the United States call in the Democrat Party, a winner,” Rangel said. “I have been at the White House with the president at least half a dozen times this year. And I am confident that the president and I don’t have any problems at all in terms of the agenda, and it is true that he made a policy of not endorsing.”
“But please take my word for it. I’m not running for a cabinet position. I’ve had the support of all of the legislators in the Democratic Party and the leadership and Nancy Pelosi. And so, my job, basically won’t be in the White House. It will be working in the House of Representatives, and I’ve worked, you know, under Republican and Democratic presidents.”