What do you think of Congressman Charles Rangel's response to Hugo Chavez 's attack on President Bush?
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Statement: Rep. Charles Rangel
September 21, 2006
I want to express my extreme displeasure with statements by the President of Venezuela attacking U.S. President George Bush in such a personal and disparaging way during his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly.
It should be clear to all heads of government that criticism of Bush Administration policies, either domestic or foreign, does not entitle them to attack the President personally.
George Bush is the president of the United States and represents the entire country. Any demeaning or public attacks against him are viewed by Republicans, Democrats, and all Americans as an attack on all of us.
I feel that I must speak out now since the Venezuelan government has been instrumental in providing oil at discounted prices to people in low income communities who have suffered increases in rent as heating oil prices have risen sharply. By offering this benefit to people in need, Venezuela has won many friends in poor communities of New York and other states. I am surprised that American oil companies have not stepped up to provide that kind of assistance to the poor.
Venezuela's generosity to the poor, however, should not be interpreted as license to attack President Bush. Those who take issue with Bush Administration policies have no right to attack him personally. It was not helpful when President Bush referred to certain nations as an "axis of evil." Neither is it helpful for a head of state to use the sacred halls of the United Nations to insult President Bush.
Congressman Charles B. Rangel is serving his eighteenth term as the Representative from the 15th Congressional District, comprising East and Central Harlem, the Upper West Side, and Washington Heights/Inwood. Congressman Rangel is the Ranking Member of the Committee on Ways and Means, Chairman of the Board of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Dean of the New York State Congressional Delegation.
"It was a joke. Rangel was pandering to Chavez. From the tone of his voice, you could detect that he wished he could have said the things Chavez did. He's a typical Democrat." — Ed (Gulfport, MS)
"It was very half-hearted and self-serving." — Joanne (New Jersey)
"I rarely agree with Mr. Rangel's political statements, but I do admire him for speaking out against Chavez. Unfortunately, the people in Harlem have prostituted themselves for Chavez's oil." — JR (Lincolnton, NC)
"I think Rangel is just taking the high road here. As blatantly vicious as Chavez's comments were, it would be stupid for ANYBODY to support them. During an election, the last thing a candidate wants to do is make it obvious he cares ONLY about his own future. Democrats will have enough time and other opportunities to 'butcher' the Republicans." — Mike (Derry, NH)
"Only around election time would he speak out against Chavez. I could see him on stage with Chavez and Danny Glover on the other side under normal circumstances." — H. L. (Florida)
"I can't believe we let these guys into the country, and then for them to come in and speak as they did about the president at the U.N. Charles Rangel is the only one that has stood up for America during this fiasco. Kudos to Charles Rangel. It's a sad day when we let part of the axis of evil come into America." — Milton
"I think Rangel was very disingenuous. Half-heartedly defending the president, and still taking shots at him about how the U.S. should look at Chavez's playbook on free heating oil for low-income residents in his district...give me a break!" — Dave (Hudson, OH)
"I appreciate Mr. Rangel's response to the attack on our president, and wonder why more people aren't outraged. These comments were made in our country against our sitting President. Whether or not you support the President, an attack on our President is an attack on us. He is our representative. Perhaps if our politicians and public figures showed more respect to each other in the public forum, regardless of their differences, we would earn more respect for our nation from the rest of the world." — Linda (Indiana)
"Rangel is right on! Where is the rest of Congress? They should be voicing their patriotism, too!" — Gary (Tulsa, OK)
"Thank you, Mr. Rangel, for your comments defending our president. This is the type of honorable and cross-party co-operation we expect from our elected representatives, and we are so often let down. I am a voter who will consider my countries best interests when voting. If we have a future candidate that shares Mr. Rangel's courage to stop the pathetic party-line mudslinging, that's who I'll vote for." — John
"I was elated and pleasantly surprised to hear Congressman Rangel's response. Even if his perhaps, his comments 'could be' partially motivated by the upcoming elections, isn't it nice to hear a Democrat, finally speaking out in defense of our president. It's about time! I applaud the Congressman for standing up for our president and America!" — Joe (Mesa, CO)
"Rangel's comments were weak, tepid, and insincere. It does not erase all of his prior vitriol against Bush." — Maryann
"I applaud Rangel for his comments and appreciate what he did for all Americans. It absolutely made me sick to know that the good folks of Harlem listened to Chavez speak and then applauded him all in the name of lower fuel oil bills." — C.F. (Birmingham, AL)
"You know the wonderful thing about our country is that we can disagree on policies of our government without fear of being thrown in prison or worse. I want to thank Rep. Rangel for stating what has become a little blurred recently and that is that we can disagree as country, but our president is everyone's president and deserves our respect. Maybe now that Democrats such as Rangel and Pelosi have reinforced this fact, we can all settle down a little and work better together." — Barbara (Savannah, GA)
"So it's okay for Democrats to repeatedly refer to our president as a Nazi, a terrorist, a criminal, a war monger and worse; but if another 'bad guy' says it, they jump on the stage and grand stand hoping to make them selves look honorable. I sure hope all the American people see this for what it is: hypocrisy!" — Ven (Raleigh, NC)
"In regards to what Rangel said about Chavez, I know it sounded good but once Pelosi stuck her nose in it smelled like election year politicking. They have said worse things about the president, plus Rangel accused our guys in Iraq of committing genocide, and Pelosi has stated the president is mentally unstable." — S.M. (Carlisle, PA)
"I have seen Congressman Rangel many times on Bill O'Reilly's show, and I have a lot of respect for him. He disagrees with many of Mr. O'Reilly's opinions, but he is a man of strong moral character and willing to openly and fairly discuss political issues. His comments today confirm his character and strength. " — Lois
"I had to pick myself up off the floor. Rep. Rangel and the others mentioned are not my favorite people, however, I respect and thank them profusely for defending President Bush against the vile comments by Chavez." — Diane
"As a Venezuelan, I feel deeply embarrassed for Chavez' insults to the president of the United States, and I am thankful for Mr. Rangel's comments. But I also feel frustrated because many Americans still do not comprehend the real threat posed by such 'head of state' who, with his cheap and vulgar rhetoric, continues to feed people's minds and hearts with hatred towards this country, and buys support from terrorist countries with money from oil revenues. By the way, 80% of Venezuelans live in poverty! Regardless of political beliefs, Americans should unite in one voice to condemn such insults. I have made the United States my home and I feel outraged and sad." — Gabriela (Miami, FL)
"Thank you Mr. Rangel. I don't always agree with you, but this time you spoke for me and for millions of other Americans. It just goes to show that you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Mr. Chavez is a sow's ear, plus other parts. His lack of a formal education, which would have taught him how to conduct himself in a civilized country has reared its ugly head and shown the world just how ignorant he really is. I pity the Venezuela people, they are in for a bumpy ride with that at the wheel." — Diana (Arizona)
"I appreciate the fact that some Democrats steps up to the plate for Bush. The thing that disgusts me most is Danny Glover's embrace of this fool. Danny made his millions in this country. He should have more respect for it." — Greg (San Jose, CA)
"Helpful but very self serving. Dems have been saying the same thing for six years and don't seem to realize that their constant partisan criticism only encourages nuts like these at the UN." — A.J. (Bella Vista, AK)
"I would like to thank Mr. Rangel for speaking up for OUR president. George Bush is the president of the United States and represents the entire country. Any demeaning or public attacks against him are viewed by Republicans, Democrats, and all Americans as an attack on all of us." — Charles (Hicksville, NY)
"I also consider myself a Democrat and can be quite critical of some of the president's decisions, but I am proud that Rep. Rangel spoke up in defense of the president. George Bush is our president, whether we voted for him or not, and I believe the he spoke for all Americans. Unfortunately, rhetoric on all sides lately has been in such high gear and so much of it is negative. How can we expect to reach any sort of diplomacy with such language and attitudes?" — Peggy
"Thank you Senator Rangel. While I don't always agree with the President (or you) I am grateful to see that politics didn't overshadow common decency and decorum. What you said was honorable and should be applauded." — Peter
"Charlie Rangel should be embarrassed saying anything with his history of despicable speeches. It's kind of like Rangel saying to Chavez, 'Thanks, but no thanks. My party and I can handle the endless anti-American speeches against our president and country.'" — Paul (Phoenix, AZ)
"I agree with less than one percent of anything Charlie Rangel says. However, I cannot agree more with his statements to Hugo Chavez. I am so glad one of our politicians rose above partisanship and spoke for AMERICA. We are all Americans. If someone demeans our President, they demean us all!" — Pat
"I applaud Rep. Rangel. I am not a Democrat, but I believe those who are attempting to show the world that the two major parties of this country stand united in defense of our president and our country reflect our nation's response to the past two days of criticism being hosted by the U.N. I think Rangel showed the true character of what makes this country great! I also agree that we should take care of the needs of our own poor." — Carole (Warner Robbins, GA)
"Rep. Rangel did a good thing and a very admirable thing to defend our president. No outsider should be able to come into the United States and say the sort of thing that Chavez said. In fact, I think he should have been escorted to his jet by our military and sent back to Venezuela." — Dale (Sciota, PA)
"I am a south Georgia Republican who has just made a donation to Charlie Rangel. I replied to his office's 'thank you' e-mail by writing back, 'You're welcome, Charlie. Thank you for you words to Hugo Chavez. Americans should take up for Americans. Bottom line.'" — Joey
"It's a calculated political move that Dems are criticizing Chavez. Think about the heat from Republicans and constituent critics if they fail to speak out harshly against him. How transparent can those silly Dems be?" — Tyler (Longview, WA)
"I think it is indeed a wonderful thing that someone spoke up about what Chavez said. I was particularly surprised to see that it was a Democrat. However, at this time in history, politics should be left at the door and we should all be united as one UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. I’m grateful that someone said something publicly. I was sickened by the comments."
"I respect Mr. Rangel for doing the proper thing in coming out against Chavez. I am waiting for more outrage against what has been said about our President , country (despite what he says) and our way of life. To call the President the devil, an alcoholic, and more is disgusting.
Thank you Mr Rangel! A Republican, but more importantly a fellow American!" — Judy (Fort Dodge, Iowa)
"I say "You go Rangel!" I am an American. I vote. So that means I can disagree with my leadership, which I do right now (in regards to Middle East policies) and would not vote for Bush again if he came up for reelection. But that is my right as an American. But Chavez? He has no right to 'dis my President in my country! Do it in his country on his podium! It is just like family. Picking on my family is my business, not someone outside the family." — (R. Las Vegas, NV)
"I have never liked Mr. Rangel for his political views but I certainly agree with him on this issue. No one should be allowed to come to our country and insult our President in this manner. Bye Bye CITGO, I will never stop at one of you gas stations again." — Jose
"Don’t fall for it! The Democrats have all but said as much about Bush and are now afraid of the backlash from all these personal attacks on Bush. Love him or hate him, our President is consistent something you can never say about the Democrats. Where’s the outcry from Americans when Dems continue to root for us to lose in Iraq just to gain a political advantage? You don’t fool me Congressman.' — Toby
"I think it is a disgrace!. These people (Chavez and Iran's President) are only repeating the exact same things they have heard the Democrats say about our President. "
"As an American, I thank you Rep. Rangel for speaking up for our country and our President. You are absolutely dead on with your remarks. It is kind of like me bad-mouthing my brother. It is OK for me to do it, but if someone else tries to run him down, we are going to fight!
Thank you again. You made my day." - Rick (Memphis, TN)
"I say "Amen!" Thank you Mr. Rangel for your comments. I think every person in this country should do the same thing...This country needs to wake up to what is actually going in and how serious all these events are to our country and our government. Where are all the Republican Senators and Representatives? Are they not going to defend our President? It's an outrage. I helped to put you in office and you are supposed to be representing me, as well as all other citizens who voted you into office. We don't seem to have any representation or say in our government anymore." — L (Greensboro, NC)
"I applaud Sen. Rangel for speaking out for the American people. No matter what we as Americans feel about our president, no one has the right to come and disrespect him and the American people. We should all boycout vacationing in these countries that support Hugo Chavez. Perhaps he should look at himself before he points fingers at others." — (MAC, Florida)
"I am heartened that Rep. Rangel stood up to Hugo Chavez for his disgusting comments regarding President Bush. It shows that even though he disagrees with the President on many issues, he does respect President Bush as The President of the United States and that he deserves the respect of the office. — Ken (Orlando, FL)
"It is about time." — Mike
"Rangel’s defense is on target and that defense should have come from every US Senator and Congressman currently serving. Regardless of how one personally feels about the President or the current Administration, the attack by Chavez, followed by an invitation to speak at a church in Harlem, should be abhorred by every single American. And America should cut aid to any country that spews such venomous hatred for our government. I’d rather pay more taxes to subsidize heating costs for the poor, than allow Chavez to deal directly with Americans who are so desperate that they are willing to sell themselves to the real devil – Hugo Chavez. The government should step in and put a stop to the direct negotiation. Personally, I’ll never stop at another CITGO gas station! "— Kaye
"My hat is off to Mr. Rangel, three cheers for a man that’s “PROUD” to be an American! I am a Republican and proud of my fellow American Charles Rangel." — Steve (Trinidad, Colorado)