Rep. Charles Rangel may be getting worked over by colleagues and constituents over his many, many Ethics violations, but last night was time to par-tay: His birthday party/fundraiser attracted many top Democrats, including Governor Paterson, gubernatorial hopeful Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Mayor Bloomberg (okay, he's a former Democrat). And former Mayor David Dinkins, Rangel's longtime friend and fellow Gang of Four member, flipped the bird at a protester outside the Plaza Hotel! That's what friends are for—that's also one of the songs that Dionne Warwick sang during the event.
Politico's Maggie Haberman wrote of the Dinkins' middle-finger salute, "There was a palpable sense of frustration among some Rangel supporters with some of the pressure on him. Even the normally reserved former mayor of New York City, David Dinkins, flipped the bird to a loud heckler who was shouting 'crook' to almost every African-American man who entered the hotel." But inside, the 80-year-old Rangel was in top form:
"I've been to a lot of funerals but this damn sure ain't no funeral!... This has been a real moving experience for me that I will never, never forget, and you being here over the many, many years has given me the strength to do what has not been convenient, but to do what we know is right. We're gonna win this one....Please, remember me in your prayers, because we know it really works."
Then he asked if the bar was still open. Schumer said, "He has fought for New York through thick and thin. We are so grateful and thankful for that." And Bloomberg joked about those who didn't attend, "I know a few people couldn't be here tonight, because as they tell it either they had to get a haircut or they knew they were going to have a headache." The Reverend Al Sharpton criticized the coverage of Rangel's problems, calling it a "crucifixion... but stay tuned for a political resurrection."
WNYC's Azi Paybarah noticed: "Also milling around the room was, basically, the entire unofficial slate of 2013 NYC mayoral candidates: In addition to [Public Advocate Bill] de Blasio and [City Comptroller John] Liu, there was City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Rep. Anthony Weiner, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and State Senator Eric Adams." And Azi also took video of Rangel dancing: