Still insisting he didn't try to enrich himself - despite mountains of evidence to the contrary - New York Congressman Charlie Rangel stood in the well of the House as the bill of particulars compiled by the Ethics Committee was read out loud.
Following the vote of censure - 333-79 - Rangel pretended as if nothing untoward had occurred:
When she finished delivering the first congressional censure since 1983, Rangel politely asked to address his colleagues. He apologized for the "awkward" moment and reiterated his contention that he never tried to "enrich myself." Then Rangel returned to the same defiant tone that has epitomized his 40-year tenure in Congress, particularly since the summer of 2008, when allegations of possible wrongdoing first emerged.
"I know in my heart I'm not going to be judged by this Congress," said the 80-year-old former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. Despite the censure, he said, he still has not had a bad day since he was nearly killed on the Korean War battlefield 60 years ago.
Rangel then marched into a press room in the Capitol Visitor Center and spent 25 minutes exerting the sort of confidence and relief that usually comes from an acquittal. "I leave here knowing that everybody knows I'm an honest guy," he told reporters.
One note: the curious deference, almost reverence toward Rangel displayed by the WaPo writers Paul Kane and David A. Fahrenthold in their piece was pretty blatant. Characterizations of the congressman were positive as was the reporting on his incomprehensible attitude toward the entire proceedings. Then there's this tag line:
How did it feel to stand in the well and be censured, the first House member in almost 30 years, another reporter wanted to know.
"Have you got a license in psychiatry?" Rangel said. And after that laugh line, the gentleman from New York turned and walked away.