Special to SEGAZINE
President Obama considered veteran Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel a political hack and had such little regard for Jesse Jackson that he “effectively banned” the civil rights leader from the White House, a new book claims.
The political tome about the 2012 presidential campaign, “Double Down,” says Obama had little patience for “professional left” activists and “vanishingly close to zero” for what a White House aide called “professional blacks.”
“Apart from Georgia Congressman John Lewis and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, Obama had nearly as much contempt for the CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) as he did for the Tea Party Caucus,” the book says.
“New York’s Charlie Rangel he derided as a hack; Jesse Jackson Sr. was effectively banned from the White House. . .”
Rangel has had an uneasy relationship with Obama. In the 2008, Rangel backed Hillary Clinton over Obama in the Democratic presidential primary.
In 2010, Obama said he hoped that Rangel, a decorated Korean War veteran, would retire “with dignity” as the embattled congressman was fending off ethics charges that later led to a humiliating censure by the House.
A wounded Rangel shot back that Obama “hasn’t been around long enough to determine what my dignity is.”
But Rangel, the former House Ways and Means Committee chairman, also helped craft and pass Obama’s chief domestic initiative — the Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare. And Rangel has staunchly defended the law.
A source close to Obama heatedly denied that Obama characterized Rangel as a hack, but confided that the president felt the five-decade congressman held on to office for too long.
“The president actually respects Charlie Rangel. Charlie was one of the few leaders who fought the good fight during Republican rule. Charles has done great things,” the White House insider said.
“But the president does believe that Charlie should have resigned a few election cycles ago,”
Rangel’s office had no immediate comment.