Ouch. Rep. Charlie Rangel suggested Monday that he's not going to take any lessons on dignity from whippersnappers like President Obama.
The New York Democrat, embroiled in an ongoing ethics investigation, lashed out at the president, reportedly saying Obama, 49, is too young to judge him on such matters.
"Frankly, he has not been around long enough to determine what my dignity is," Rangel was quoted saying by The New York Times.
"My dignity is 80 years old," Rangel continued. "How can somebody (Obama) so much younger tell me how to leave with dignity?"
Age and use of the word "dignity" first came up when Obama talked about Rangel's ethics problems in an interview with CBS News last month.
"He's somebody, who is at the end of his career, 82 years old, I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity and my hope is that that happens," Obama said.
"I think Charlie Rangel served a very long time and served his constituents very well, but these allegations are very troubling," Obama said.
The president stopped short of actually saying Rangel should step down.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton was asked in Tuesday's White House briefing for any reaction to Rangel's statements, and Burton said, "I didn't see the comments. I don't have a particular reaction."
Rangel is facing a series of serious House ethics investigation including allegedly improperly using congressional stationery, living in multiple rent-stabilized apartments in New York City while declaring primary residency in Washington, and failing to report income from a villa in the Dominican Republic. Rangel became chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee in 2007 until he stepped down in March. He has been in Congress since 1971.
Rangel's investigation has given ample political ammunition for Republicans this election season with the GOP charging that Democrats have not lived up to their claims of raising ethical standards on Capitol Hill.
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