Rep. Charles Rangel ended a week filled with cell phones and jabs by picking up an endorsement in his fight for a 23rd term. NY1's Michael Scotto filed the following report.
Rep. Charles Rangel appeared among friends Friday morning.
At a firehouse in Washington Heights, he picked up the endorsement of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.
"We are proud as punch to endorse him," said Al Hagan, president of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association.
At this point in the campaign, the embattled congressman needs all the help he can get.
That's because he finds himself fighting a tough battle against state Senator Adriano Espaillat and Pastor Michael Walrond.
The endorsement came on the same day Espaillat won his own labor support. He was endorsed by the Hotel Workers Union. The group has 35,000 members and is the latest high-profile union to back Espaillat.
Rangel is very much aware of the narrative, which is why he's trying to spin Espaillat's support. He said it comes down to nothing more than internal union politics.
"Why did they not endorse me? It could be that their presidency is more important than having me in the Congress," Rangel said. "And you know what, I understand that. It's not the first time it happened, but that doesn't mean that the union members don't know who their friends are."
That said, Rangel has found it necessary to amp up the attacks on his opponents. His now-famous imaginary cell phone conversation at this week's debate grabbed headlines and caught the attention of comedians.
"I'm as confused about it as you are, person I made up," Jon Stewart said on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." "You know what, I think this is how Charlie Rangel stays in office so long. Yes, he's corrupt, but he's very likable."
For Rangel, it appears any publicity is good publicity as he tries to keep his job.