Earlier this week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) threw her political weight behind Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-N.Y.) in a glowing fundraising e-mail, as the 22-term incumbent battles it out in a tight primary.
“Charlie’s judgment and wisdom have earned him the respect of his colleagues,” Pelosi wrote in her solicitation. “His belief in possibility, his commitment to his constituents and his knowledge of the House have made him an extraordinary resource. His institutional memory is second-to-none.”
Such campaign season warm and fuzzy is par for the course. But, it wasn’t so long ago that an awkward tension hung between Rangel and the colleagues who, according to Pelosi, respect his judgment.
In late 2010, in one of her last acts as House speaker, Pelosi called a disgraced Rangel to step forward on the chamber floor as she publicly reprimanded him, a ritual when a lawmaker is censured by his colleagues. She was measured in her tone as she read Rangel’s various violations of ethics rules. Most of her Democratic caucus voted for the public shaming despite Rangel’s plea that his charge be lessened.
The wounds healed well before this year. Pelosi and other Democratic heavy hitters held a D.C. fundraiser at see-and-be-seen Bistro Bis restaurant at Hotel George a year after the censure vote. Still, the juxtaposition of Pelosi’s fundraising plea to the video below is a perfect illustration of how this town gives the scandal-plagued second (and third, and fourth, and fifth) chances.