President Barack Obama on Friday called ethics charges against Democratic Rep. Charlie Rangel 'very troubling' and said he hopes the longtime lawmaker can end his career with dignity. Several House Democrats went further, flat-out urging the New York congressman to resign.
'He's somebody who's at the end of his career,' Obama said in an interview that aired Friday on 'CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.' 'I'm sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens.'
Obama, speaking on the issue for the first time, praised the 20-term Rangel for serving his constituents well but called the more than one-dozen tax and disclosure charges against him 'very troubling.'
It was hardly an endorsement for the veteran lawmaker, but fell well short of the calls for resignation Rangel received on the eve of the House's August recess. As House Democrats headed home, they wrestled with how to handle the matter in their districts ahead of the midterm elections.
Republicans, meanwhile, raced ahead with plans to make Rangel the face of corrupt Washington under the rule of Democrats who had vowed to clean up Congress.
For his part, Rangel met with perhaps his staunchest supporters, members of the New York state delegation, in the stately Capitol parlor named for the Ways and Means Committee that he headed until March.