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Rangel: Clinton Will Overcome 'National Perceptions'

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New York Rep. Charles Rangel, one of the earliest advocates of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's political ambitions, acknowledged in an interview today that Clinton must overcome negative national perceptions about her candidacy to win his party's presidential nomination but expressed unwavering confidence in her ability to do so.

Charles Rangel
Rep. Charles Rangel

"Once there is a national perception of a person, whether they're too commander-in-chief or less personal, did she cry and did she mean it, these are things that you have to overcome," admitted Rangel. Despite that potential hurdle, Rangel said he "could not possibly recommend any personality change based on how effective [Clinton] has been in the state of New York."

The New York Democrat added that "there are just certain people no matter what they say they are going to be disliked and, on a more positive note, there are people saying absolutely nothing, they are loved ....and everyone likes them."

He said that that comment was not meant as an indirect slap at Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), who he praised as "one of the most talented Americans we have on the scene." Clinton and her supporters have argued that it's more important that the next president have the practical experience needed to run the government than to be an inspirational speaker, like Obama.

As for the recent bitter intraparty dispute over the issue of race between Clinton and Obama, Rangel expressed hope that the controversy was a thing of the past. "Once they both understood this was not in their best interests, that it has no roots of its own, I just hope it's over," Rangel said.

For more on our sitdown with Rangel, click here.

By Chris Cillizza  |  January 17, 2008; 5:43 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
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