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Charlie Rangel Promises to Campaign to Win Re-Election

Charles Rangel
Rep. Charles Rangel speaks during a news conference at his Harlem office, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2010, in New York. AP

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) is back on his home turf in Harlem, New York, today, and hot on the campaign trail.

At a campaign press conference this morning he said he would no longer take questions about his ethics troubles in Washington, but the event largely center on those troubles.

Supporters holding "Re-elect Congressman Charles B. Rangel" signs stood behind the eighty-year-old Rangel cheering him on and at one point chanted "Rangel! Rangel! Rangel!" to show their enthusiasm.

"Go to!" Rangel pleaded numerous times urging the public to read his defense of the 13 ethics charges that were released last month. And he pledged that "nothing is going to stop me from clearing my name from these vile and vicious charges."

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Rangel also attacked the press for not covering his defense as much as the charges.

"No paper can deny anybody, even a Charlie Rangel, the opportunity for a fair and equitable and just hearing" he said.

Rangel said that he does not expect that his ethics troubles will harm politically vulnerable Democrats this election.

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"I refuse to believe that I'm even that important, or infamous, that my problems are going to interfere with any good person getting elected or reelected," he said.

Rangel mentioned his big birthday bash fundraiser last night in New York and the politicians who came out for him including New York Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

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"As much as my ego would like me to believe that they came out for Charlie Rangel. I don't think that's the whole story. I think they came out for the process," he said, referring to the upcoming ethics trial and his right to defend himself.

"I will not be deterred without a hearing, so let's move on with the campaign," Rangel added.

Rangel pledged that he would act differently than the man he unseated 40 years ago, Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, who at the time was facing ethics issues of his own.

"His biggest mistake was not coming home and campaigning" Rangel said. "I may be making a lot of mistakes, but that won't be one of them."

Rangel faces a challenge from Powell's son, Adam Clayton Powell IV, in a primary on September 14th. Rangel's ethics trial in Washington is expected to begin after that primary.

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Jill Jackson is a CBS News Capitol Hill Producer. You can read more of her posts in Hotsheet here. You can also follow her on Twitter.
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