By Jeff Mays
HARLEM — Rep. Charles Rangel told supporters at a rally Sunday that those who don't want him in Washington because of his stance on certain issues will soon be coming after President Barack Obama for the same reasons.
"They've got something new going on,” he said at the get-out-the-vote event in Harlem. “It won't be long now before they are telling our president you can't attend the meeting…Too many people worked too hard to get me to know where the meeting was.”
The congressman explained that his positions on issues like health care and civil rights have made him an easy target for critics.
"I know there's been more than one occasion that people would say, I wish he would disappear with that civil rights, economic injustice, and putting up a mosque where the Constitution allows it," Rangel said.
"That doesn't make people feel comfortable. I know that a lot of people would say there's the bus — throw him under it."
Rangel, who recently made negative remarks regarding Obama’s handling of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, also took on those attacking the president during a time of war because the "enemies of democracy" are listening.
His comments come as one of his opponents in the race for the 15th Congressional District seat, Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV, continues to attack the congressman for making critical statements about Obama.
At a League of Women Voters candidate's forum last week, Powell said that Rangel's earlier comments about Obama — specifically ones comparing him to Dick Cheney in regard to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — were inappropriate.
“It’s odd to hear you say Democrats are not supportive of the president in light of the comments you’ve made about President Obama,” Powell said at the forum.
Powell has called on Rangel to "resign with dignity" for facing ethics charges in Washington, a call Rangel has repeatedly rebutted.
"This ain't no time to retire," Rangel said. "This is a time to be inspired. To help our president to get jobs for our community, affordable housing and hope for our kids that they can dream and achieve."
Asseblyman Keith Wright noted at the rally that the Harlem community has been "under attack by the media."
"Let's not let anyone tell us who our leaders should be," he said.
The rally, sponsored by the Ecumenical Leadership Council, also featured a demonstration of new voting machine that will be used in the Sept. 14 primary.