ABC, NBC Morning Shows Report Rep. Rangel's Charges; CBS's Early Show Covers Comic Book Convention Instead

Both ABC's "Good Morning America" and NBC's "Today Show" devoted segments to reporting the ethics charges Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) now faces. The recently-deposed head of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee faces ethics charges detailed in reports following a two-year committee investigation of the embattled congressman.

CBS's "Early Show" did not report on the charges the Congressman faces, but did devote a four minute segment to an international comic book convention – "Comic Con International" – which takes place this weekend in San Diego, CA.

The "Today Show" provided three minutes for the Rangel story, while "Good Morning America" gave the story just under a minute in coverage.

A transcript of the ABC and NBC news segments is as follows:

TODAY SHOW July 23, 7:12 a.m.-7:15 a.m. EDT

MEREDITH VIEIRA, anchor: Veteran New York congressman Charles Rangel is vowing to fight back after being charged with multiple ethics violations by the House Investigative Committee. NBC's Kelly O'Donnell is on Capitol Hill with details. Good morning, Kelly.

KELLY O'DONNELL, NBC correspondent: Good morning, Meredith. Aides here didn't even hold back, calling this a rare and serious blow to one of the most senior Democrats here. Now the House Ethics Committee report is kind of like an indictment. Both Democrats and Republicans looked at evidence and say Rangel broke the rules.

(Video Clip)

O'DONNELL: That booming voice and big personality.

Rep. CHARLIE RANGEL: After we whoop them like they're going to be whooped in November.

O'DONNELL: Harlem's Charlie Rangel has wielded influence here for almost 40 years.

RANGEL: At long last, the Ethics Committee has completed its investigation at my request.

O'DONNELL: Be careful what you wish for. Rangel did ask, and after two years of investigation, the highly secretive Ethics Committee found multiple violations, but will not reveal the specific charges until the hearing next week.

RANGEL: It gives me an opportunity to respond to my friends and constituents who have supported me for close to 40 years.

O'DONNELL: Appearing unfazed, Rangel turned up at a Democrats event celebrating the extension of unemployment benefits. A more agitated Rangel rebuffed the notion his seat is at risk, in an exchange with NBC's Luke Russert.

(Video Clip)

LUKE RUSSERT: (Unintelligible)

RANGEL: What are you talking about? You just trying to make coffee? What job? The one I got?

LUKE RUSSERT: Yeah. These are particularly serious violations.

RANGEL: How do you think I got my job? I was elected, right? How do you think I lose it?

(End Video Clip)

O'DONNELL: The 80 year-old Rangel repeatedly ridiculed the question.

RANGEL: Well, you're young, I guess you do need to make a name for yourself. But basically, you know it's a dumb question.

(End Video Clip)

O'DONNELL: Back in March, Rangel was forced to step down as powerful chair of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, for a gift-rule violation. The Ethics Committee has examined a series of allegations, including trading legislative favors for a one million dollar oil company donation to an academic center named for Rangel, accepting special deals for lower rent on four New York City apartments. And while he wrote tax policy, he's accused of failure to pay his own taxes on rental income from this vacation villa in the Caribbean. The New York Post first ran this photo of Rangel lounging there. And it became a symbol of the allegations against him.

(Video Clip)

MELANIE SLOAN, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington: What it really looks like is a pattern of arrogance, as if the rules just didn't apply to Mr. Rangel. But it's gotta be more than minor infractions for the committee to announce this public hearing.

(End Video Clip)

O'DONNELL: And that public hearing is really like a trial, set for next week, where a different group of Democrats and Republicans will look at all the evidence in public. If they decide there were violations, the punishment could be censure or even expulsion from Congress. This is all very tough for Democrats in this election year, and Rangel says he even wants this wrapped-up in time for his own re-election. He's trying for a 21st term. Meredith?

GOOD MORNING AMERICA July 23, 7:14 a.m.-7:15a.m.  EDT

BOB WOODRUFF, ABC News anchor: This morning, one of the most powerful members of Congress is accused of breaking the rules. New York Democrat Charles Rangel is charged with violating House Ethics rules. Everything from his taxes to his rent-controlled apartments are now in the spotlight. Our Jonathan Karl is following the story on Capitol Hill. Good morning, John.

JONATHAN KARL, ABC congressional correspondent: Good morning, Bob. Charlie Rangel is one of the closest allies of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. But he now faces a public trial in the House Ethics Committee. And the list of allegations against Rangel is a long one. It includes charges that he improperly obtained four rent-controlled apartments in New York City, failed to disclose more than $500,000 in assets, and failed to pay taxes on a villa he has in the Caribbean. Now for his part, Rangel says he actually looks forward to this trial, which he says will give him a chance to finally clear his name. 

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