1:25 pm Jun. 14, 2012
At his 82nd birthday party last night, Rep. Charlie Rangel didn't spend much time talking about his 41-year-long career in Congress, or about why he was running for another term.
After a series of speeches from supporters, Rangel took the stage at Sheraton Hotel and jokingly threatened to read a 50-minute speech to the crowd. Instead, he introduced the night's musical entertainment: singer Chuck Jackson.
The event was held in the Sheraton, and included appearances by many local officials, but not Andrew Cuomo or Michael Bloomberg, who attended Rangel's annual birthday event in prior years when it was held at Tavern on the Green and at the Plaza Hotel.
I asked Rangel as he left how he thought this year's fund-raiser compared to others he's held.
"I have to really check and see how much money we made," he said. "How the hell could I tell? Same number of people, I think. It looked crowded to me."
The campaign has not said yet how much was raised from the event.
Among the highlights from the speakers:
Former mayor Ed Koch referred to Rangel as "my brother," and said "when your brother needs help, you got to be there!"
Rep. Jose Serrano said it takes "a lifetime" to get on the Appropriations committee, "unless you know Charlie Rangel."
Manhattan City Councilwoman Inez Dickens said Rangel is being targeted by two Super PACs that are "using race-baiting fear tactics." They are "willing to put in millions of dollars into this race."
Former governor David Paterson said some of Rangel's opponents are running, basically, "to get a lot of notoriety," and "There are some who running against the congressman out of vanity."
Rangel is being opposed by multiple candidates in the June 26 congressional primary, including State Senator Adriano Espaillat, district leader Joyce Johnson and former presidential aide Clyde Williams.