Asked whether Obama supports his re-election, Rangel says it’s ‘a good question’

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Days before Barack Obama's planned visit to a computer plant in upstate New York, Rep. Charles Rangel is circulating a campaign flier featuring himself with the president, who may or may not want to see him re-elected.

The flier was distributed to reporters this afternoon on the Upper West Side, where Rangel picked up the endorsement of Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell.

Asked whether the president was supporting his campaign, the 81-year-old congressman said, "God damn, that's a good question."

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A reporter asked whether it was "misleading" to use the photo if Obama was not endorsing him.

"It certainly would be," said Rangel. "I don't know about my picture taken with the president. I have so many, I don't know which one would be misleading. But I would say this: I would welcome asking whether or not the president opposes my re-election. Especially for the primary. I wish you would."

In 2010, while Rangel was fending himself against accusations he broke nearly a dozen House ethics rules, Obama said in a television interview that the legendary congressman should end his career with "dignity," suggesting that Rangel should drop his fight and retire. Rangel pressed on, was found guilty of 11 of them, and duly won re-election.

This year, Rangel is facing a challenge from a former presidential aide, Clyde Williams, whose contributors include a number of prominent Washington Democratic figures; and State Senator Adriano Espailat, who, like a majority of residents in the district, is Latino. If elected, Espaillat would be the first-ever congressman of Dominican descendant, a prospect his campaign likened to Obama's historic election to the White House. Longtime district leader Joyce Johnson is also running.

I have a call into the DCCC for comment about Rangel's use of Obama's photo and will update when I get a response. 

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