DO YOU THINK THIS PARTY HAS AN IMAGE PROBLEM? – AT 8:35 A.M. ET: Well, Charlie Rangel isn't exactly Jack the Ripper. But still... From the New York Post:
A who's who of Democratic officials turned out to celebrate scandal-scarred Rep. Charles Rangel's 80th birthday last night -- whooping it up as if he didn't have an ethics charge in the world.
In fact, former Mayor David Dinkins, 83, went so far as to flip the bird to a protester who called Rangel a "crook" outside The Plaza hotel gala.
Not everyone matched Dinkins' gusto, but the New York political establishment did turn out in force.
Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bloomberg all took turns at the mike to heap praise on the longtime Harlem legislator.
A jovial Gov. Paterson emceed the fund-raising bash and paid tribute to the embattled congressman's "dedication to public service."
Rangel lapped it up, telling the crowd, "This damn sure ain't no funeral, is it?"
At the end of the festivities in the Grand Ballroom, an emotional Rangel told the audience, "Please remember me in your prayers. It helps."
Rangel -- who has been slapped with 13 ethics charges by the House ethics committee -- called the occasion "an experience I'll never, ever forget.
"I can't tell you how moving this has been," he said.
He left the stage dancing.
COMMENT: Ah, New York politics. Item: More people are leaving New York than any other state. Yup, we're number one!
If they'd thrown this party when Rudy Giuliani was mayor, half the crowd would probably be in jail by now.
August 12, 2010