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Rangel Breaks Silence At Annual Turkey Giveaway

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Congressman Charles Rangel received a warm welcome in Harlem Tuesday during his first public appearance since it was recommended he be censured on ethics violations. NY1's Grace Rauh filed the following report.

He may be on the ropes in Washington, but Congressman Charlie Rangel received a hero's welcome in Harlem Tuesday.

A crowd of New Yorkers greeted him with open arms during his first public appearance since the House Ethics Committee in Washington called for him to be censured. It found Rangel guilty of 11 ethics violations.

But Rangel is now turning his attention to more local matters, like handing out turkeys at his annual Thanksgiving giveaway.

"It just seems to me that I have a moral obligation to take care of them, and then when I get to Washington, take care of me," Rangel said.

The full House is expected to vote on the censure recommendation after Thanksgiving. Rangel won't say whether he plans to fight it. He's also staying mum on whether he will serve out the rest of his term.

"One thing I am not going to do, and that is to discuss anything that I don't have control over right now," Rangel said.

Supporters, like City Councilwoman Inez Dickens, say Rangel has been through enough already. She and others are now trying to convince House members to reject the proposal to censure Rangel.

"Nothing badgering, nothing hollering, nothing accusing. Just asking that you please vote no. That our community wants him to continue servicing us in this community," Dickens said.

Constituents who lined up for a free turkey Tuesday say Rangel is getting a raw deal in Washington.

"All the service he's done for America? And America does this because, what? Because they care how much rent he pays or he wrote something on a letter head? It's petty," said one Harlem resident.

"He's done a great deal here. I'm 56 years old. He's been here since I've been a baby," said another.

In a written apology to supporters, though, Rangel took some responsibility for his predicament. He says it's the result of his own mistakes.

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