Incumbent Rep. Charlie Rangel Links Himself to Obama on Primary Day

Written by City & State on . Posted in Politics.


Rep. Charlie Rangel, who voted today in the Democratic congressional primary, is facing a challenge from State Sen. Adriano Espaillat and three other candidates. (Jon Lentz)

After navigating through a crowd of reporters and photographers to cast his primary vote in Harlem today, Congressman Charlie Rangel sought to link his campaign to President Barack Obama.

From the ongoing fiscal crisis and income inequality to healthcare reform and the high number of young people going to prison, Rangel asserted he was the only candidate in the Democratic primary race who could combat the ongoing problems and defend the president’s policies.

“It wasn’t the identification with his color,” Rangel said of the reason he had been inspired by President Obama. “It was the identification with his ideas. The fact that he realized that all Americans have to be invested in an education, and research and science, not because it’s the right thing to do, but if we’re going to compete with other nations, we cannot do it with a population that should be creative, rotting away in jail.”

He also applauded Obama for pushing through healthcare reform to address the problem of sick, uninsured people relying on emergency rooms. The Supreme Court is set to issue a ruling on the president’s landmark legislation later this week.

“We have to stop it,” Rangel said of the many uninsured people relying on emergency rooms. “Republicans, Democrats, conservatives, liberals know we have to do it. Then he came with this exciting idea, that was adopted by Romney in Massachusetts, and hopefully will be adopted this week by the courts.”

Rangel, who touted his support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg and other elected officials, started his press conference outside the polling station by seeking to dispel what he called “nonsense questions,” including concerns about his age and his ability to serve.

“Am I too old to run for re-election?” he asked. “Clearly, I’ve gone through the process. I’ve done what candidates are supposed to do. … I don’t think anybody that’s running – or not running – should challenge my health.”

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