Rangel: Clinton should get on with it

By Greg Wallace

Jun 4, 2008 3:20pm

ABC News’ Kate Snow Reports: One of Hillary Clinton’s most loyal backers on Capitol Hill is voicing frustration about the position she has put her supporters in.

In an interview with ABC News, Rep. Charles Rangel said he thinks it is time for Clinton to publicly clarify what she is doing and allow her supporters to switch their allegiance to Barack Obama.

“Unless she has some good reasons– which I can’t think of– I really think we ought to get on with endorsements (of Obama) and dealing with what we have to deal with… so we can move forward,” Rangel said.

Rangel last spoke with Senator Clinton privately on Tuesday during the day.  On Wednesday he took part in a conference call Clinton had with the NY congressional delegation. 

Asked why the Senator told supporters Tuesday night that she needed more time to consider her future, Rangel said: “I have no clue.”

In fact, Rangel said he was surprised by last night’s speech.

“Basically in talking with her I had the idea that, one, she wasn’t going to take the fight to the convention.  Two– that she was just calling her friends and supporters in order to share her views and to get our views on what should happen.  And it was abundantly clear to me last night that she was going to do all that she could to make sure we have a victory in November.  And since we have only one candidate for that victory in November, I had assumed she would be endorsing Obama.”

Since Senator Clinton did not endorse Obama and did not concede the nomination, Rangel said members of the NY delegation were feeling torn about what to do.

“The NY congressional delegation encouraged her to run for President. So we feel some obligation to stay with her as long as we can” to give Clinton some time and space he said.

“We just have to have a better answer as to why it helps her to victory… as to why we’re not endorsing Obama when the only person left to endorse is Obama.”

“It’s awkward for us for us who are known to be her strongest supporters in the NY delegation not to be able to answer the question of how long is it going to take before you can endorse?”  he added later.

Rangel also told ABC News that he does not think the path to the vice presidency should involve a negotiation between Clinton supporters and the Obama campaign.

“Common sense would dictate if you want to get on the ticket you don’t do it by leaning heavily on the person who makes the decision.  So I don’t think pressure is something that should be used,” he said.   

Rangel also dismissed the idea of having the Congressional Black Caucus put pressure on Obama to include Clinton on the ticket.

“I think it’s a dumb policy to do that – to be telling the person who won what he should be doing.”
Rangel also said he’s not sure the vice presidency is what Senator Clinton is after.

“The fact that she said that she would be willing to serve as vice president doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s seeking the vice president’s job.”

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