ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: Rep. Charlie Rangel’s primary opponent said today that the veteran lawmaker is “gonna be expelled” from the House if he doesn’t admit to ethical lapses, and said he’d be doing Rangel “a favor” if he defeats him in next month’s Democratic primary.
“He’s gonna be expelled if he continues to drag these ethical charges, ethical violations, on through,” Adam Clayton Powell IV, D-N.Y., told us on ABC/Washington Post’s “Top Line” today. “The fact is that I am in a campaign against him. The fact is I announced on April 12. And the fact is that I believe I would be doing him a favor if I win on Sept. 14, because if that happens, obviously, then all of his ethical issues go away.
“He’ll be a lame-duck congressman who has served, you know, well for 40 years. Obviously, longevity alone creates a legacy, but the fact is the last couple of years have not been so well — so good. He lost his chairmanship as chairman of Ways and Means. He lost his power. Look, people may say, ‘Oh, he still has the connections in Congress.’
“Those are the same connections that asked him to step down as Chairman of Ways and Means. Those are the same connections that have been returning moneys back to him that he donated to them, or given it to charity. Those are the same connections in Congress that are urging him to, ‘Please resign, not just for your own good, but for the good of the party, for the good of the nation. Do not drag us’ — meaning this entire nation.
“And obviously the constituents in his congressional district who love him for many years he has served, and they feel like he should really resign, step down with some level of dignity and allow us to turn the page to a new level of leadership.
“The fact is that everyone knows a change is coming. The question is, ‘When, and who, will replace Charlie Rangel?’ And we’re very ready to answer those questions, and I’m prepared for a big victory on Sept. 14.”
Powell tried and failed to oust Rangel in a Democratic primary in 1994. In a strange historical twist, his father, Adam Clayton Powell Jr., lost the same House seat in a Democratic primary to a young Rangel , in 1970.
The younger Powell said he’s not discouraged by polls that show him running behind Rangel.
“These margins never take into account the energy of the voters. And I can assure you, for obvious reasons, that a voter for Adam Clayton Powell will be much more enthusiastic about going out on Election Day than a voter for Charlie Rangel. This is one reason why Mayor Michael Bloomberg is usually up by 20, 25, 30 points and only wins by a handful, because again, even though people vote for him, they don’t have the same energy and enthusiasm as his challengers.”
Powell also said “I completely agree with President Barack Obama” in his support for the right of Muslims to build an Islamic center in Lower Manhattan, and said it was “akin to racial profiling” to seek to block the center.
Watch the full interview with Adam Clayton Powell IV HERE.
For our “Post Politics” segment today, we checked in with Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post about the mosque controversy, plus the expectations game in today’s primary election in Washington state.
Watch the discussion with Karen Tumulty HERE.