Top Dems celebrate Rangel's 80th at NY fundraiser

August 12, 2010 4:02:25 AM PDT
New York's top Democrats are rallied around Rep. Charles Rangel at his birthday party and fundraiser Wednesday night.

It was the theme of the evening, with Dione Warwick belting out, "in good times and bad times" during a performance of "That's What Friends Are For." It showed that plenty of friends are still with Rangel as they celebrated his 80th birthday fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel.

"You know I've been to a lot of funerals where they worked it out. But this damn sure ain't no funeral is it?" Rangel said.

The parade of politicians included Attorney General and Gubernatorial frontrunner Andrew Cuomo, Senator Chuck Schumer, who is up for election in the fall, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who made light of the rumor that some politicians might not show.

"Now I know a few people couldn't be here tonight, because as they tell it, either they had to get a haircut unexpectedly or they had a headache," Bloomberg said. "But Charlie, as you know, they were with you as long as they could be."

Outside the Plaza, a few protesters chanted and one sign called on Rangel to resign.

Former Mayor David Dinkins was so angered that he flipped them the bird.

The governor defended Dinkins, saying maybe the protester deserved it.

"And others have a right to say whatever they want, but this judging before the facts is in, it's becoming more and more prevalent in our society, and it bothers me," Governor David Paterson said.

Others outside said the event was just too ritzy for their blood.

"This is a party that the average person on the street cannot afford to come to, this is the elite and the high rollers," candidate for Congress Jonathan Tasini said. "My message is this reflects who Charlie Rangel is."