CBS: Charlie Rangel Made 'Emotional and Raw Defense' on House Floor

Wyatt Andrews, CBS In a sympathetic story devoid of critics on Tuesday's CBS Evening News, correspondent Wyatt Andrews described Congressman Charles Rangel's rant over being charged with numerous ethics violations this way: "In an emotional and raw defense against 13 ethics charges, Charles Rangel mixed small doses of contrition...into a speech of political defiance."

Andrews's report featured only sound bites of Rangel's speech that afternoon on the House floor, no critics of the New York Congressman from either party were included. Andrews did explain that Rangel was in "serious trouble" and detailed the charges: "Rangel is charged with not reporting his income on a beach villa in the Dominican Republic, his taxable gains on a condo in Florida. Not reporting several large investment accounts and with raising money for his Rangel Center at the City College in New York from dozens of companies needing favors from his committee."

Continuing to report on Rangel's bombastic address, Andrews observed: "...this was real-world drama. A man who had clawed his way to the peak of political power now shocked to find himself deserted by so many friends." Andrews concluded: "Many Democrats...hoped that Rangel would actually take one for the team and quit before his ethics problem became their election issue. But Rangel called that kind of thinking unfair to him and even asked at one point in his speech, 'what about me?'"

Here is a full transcript of the August 10 segment:
6:34PM ET

KATIE COURIC: Now to another 40-year veteran of Capitol Hill, Democratic Congressman Charles Rangel of New York forced out as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee and now facing a House ethics trial and possible expulsion. Wyatt Andrews tells us Rangel took to the floor of the House today to defend himself.

CHARLES RANGEL: Are you going to expel me from this body?

WYATT ANDREWS: In an emotional and raw defense against 13 ethics charges, Charles Rangel mixed small doses of contrition-

RANGEL: I apologize for any embarrassment that I've caused.

ANDREWS: -into a speech of political defiance.

RANGEL: Fire your best shot in getting rid of me.

ANDREWS: And to any Democrat, starting with the President, who hoped that Rangel would resign to avoid an embarrassing ethics trial just before the election:

RANGEL: Don't leave me swinging in the wind until November. I deserve and demand the right to be heard.

ANDREWS: Rangel said he wants a trial and isn't going anywhere.

RANGEL: Hey, if I was you, I may want me to go away, too. I am not going away! I am here!

ANDREWS: But he is also in serious trouble. Rangel is charged with not reporting his income on a beach villa in the Dominican Republic, his taxable gains on a condo in Florida. Not reporting several large investment accounts and with raising money for his Rangel Center at the City College in New York from dozens of companies needing favors from his committee.

RANGEL: I apologize.

ANDREWS: Despite his apology for breaking House rules, he minimized most of the charges as technical.

RANGEL: There has to be a penalty for grabbing the wrong stationery.

ANDREWS: But not criminal.

RANGEL: It may be stupid, it may be negligent, but it's not corrupt.

ANDREWS: On the House floor itself, this was real-world drama. A man who had clawed his way to the peak of political power now shocked to find himself deserted by so many friends.

RANGEL: But for God's sake, just don't believe that I don't have feelings, that I don't have pride.

ANDREWS: Many Democrats who are facing tough reelection campaigns thought that – hoped that Rangel would actually take one for the team and quit before his ethics problem became their election issue. But Rangel called that kind of thinking unfair to him and even asked at one point in his speech, 'what about me?' Katie.

COURIC: Wyatt Andrews on Capitol Hill. Wyatt, thank you.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC