Rangel: Ethics probe has improved 2010 reelection chances

Rangel (D-N.Y.) expressed confidence he would retain his seat and win a 21st term given the sympathy, which emerged after he temporarily stepped down as chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means panel.

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"My community [has supported me] beyond my expectations, not that I don't have enough ego to get by," he said on WNYW-TV's "Good Morning New York" program. "My community has put confidence in me and they want me to continue."

Rangel faces a primary challenge from Adam Clayton Powell IV, whose father once held Rangel's seat.

The Harlem congressman blamed the press for trumping up his ethics problems.

He gave up his chairmanship in March after the House ethics panel admonished him for violating rules for attending a corporate-backed trip. Rangel also faces scrutiny for not reporting $75,000 in earnings on his tax returns and for owning several rent-controlled apartments in Manhattan.

"People in the community are [saying], 'If he has done something wrong, say what he has done wrong — don't let the press pick on my congressman,' " Rangel said. "There is no accusation against me doing something wrong except by the press."

But Rangel refused to predict what the outcome of the ethics probes will be.

"I can't get into their thinking," he said of the House ethics panel.

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