While the House was temporarily back from its recess today for a special one-day session to pass an emergency state financial-aid bill, Charlie Rangel took to the floor against, he says, the advice of his lawyers and friends to defend himself against alleged ethical violations, and to argue that the Ethics Committee should just hurry the hell up and start the trial which isn't set to begin until sometime after the House returns from its summer recess so he can either clear his name or face his punishment. "Don't leave me swinging in the wind," he pleaded, later adding, "For God's sakes, just don't believe that I don't have feelings, that I don't have pride." Rangel was in turns defiant, irritated, apologetic, nostalgic, and hilarious. When it was all over, he received a standing ovation from the Democrats in attendance. Rangel spoke for nearly half an hour, but here are a few choice bits.
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