Rangel formally announced his re-election campaign on Sunday. He made the announcement surrounded by a host of elected officials, including Gov. David Paterson, putting to rest questions about whether the 80-year-old politician would seek another term.
Met by cheers from supporters yelling "run Charlie run," Rangel said "I will not be a target for Republicans....we will whoop them."
Rangel stepped down as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee in March amid an ethics investigation related to his finances. An ethics panel is still investigating more serious accusations regarding Mr. Rangel’s fund-raising, his failure to pay federal taxes on rental income from a villa he owns in the Dominican Republic and his use of four rent-stabilized apartments provided by a Manhattan real estate developer.
When asked Sunday about the probe, Rangel said federal authorities have failed to find any tax problems after an 18 month investigation. He also said he's been treated unfairly by the press, adding "you can fire your best shot but you can't walk over success."
Rangel is facing at least three challengers, including state Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV. Powell is the son of the man Rangel defeated in 1970 as a reform candidate in the race for New York's 15th congressional district seat.
On Saturday, sounding very much the candidate, Rangel, 80, took a swing at Obama's White House for staying in Iraq -- a war commissioned by his predecessor, President George W. Bush.
"I challenge anyone to tell me we aren't there because of the oil," Rangel said, according to the New York Daily News.
"The lack of an honest explanation [for the war] is consistent with Bush and Cheney," he told the News.