Charlie Rangel may or may not care if he lands the endorsement of President Barack Obama in his heated five-way June congressional primary. But his top challenger, Manhattan State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, went out of his way to say at a press conference this afternoon that he would welcome the president’s backing.
“I might just add that I do give a damn,” Espaillat said, “and I would look forward to working with Obama, and I certainly hope he will endorse me.”
At his own recent press conference to receive the backing of current Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., Rangel said he didn’t “give a damn” if he got Obama’s backing in the congressional race, though Rangel’s campaign later walked the statement back.
Espaillat was on hand at City Hall today to receive the endorsement of former Bronx borough president/White House director of the Office of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion, which was first reported this morning by City & State.
Carrion, for his part, said he does not believe Obama will get involved in a Democratic primary, simply because it’s a race between two Democrats. He also praised Rangel’s record in Congress, and did not take the bait when asked about Rangel’s ethics violations.
Meanwhile, Espaillat was put in an awkward situation during the press conference, when he was asked about a scandal several years ago involving Carrion getting free work on his Bronx house. In response, Espaillat said that he was entirely unaware of the well-publicized incident, which resulted in a $10,000 city fine.
“No, I’m not concerned about that, and I don’t think there is such things going on,” Espaillat said. “If you have information you can share with me, perhaps, you can give that to me after the press conference. Any other questions?”
Carrion declined to speak about his own political plans, which have included rumored interest in a run for comptroller, and even as a Republican candidate for mayor in 2013.
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