Ros-Lehtinen Hangs Up on Obama, Thinking It's a Prank

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) may have become the first U.S. lawmaker to hang up on both President-elect Barack Obama and his chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, today after the Florida congresswoman received two phone calls that she thought--mistakenly--were pranks from a local radio station.

Ros-Lehtinen received a call on her cell phone today from a Chicago-area number; when she picked up, a voice told her that President-elect Barack Obama wanted to speak with her. Another voice--one sounding suspiciously like Obama's--then introduced itself as the president-elect.

The voice was Obama's. Ros-Lehtinen hung up, accusing it of prankery.

"I'm sorry but I think this is a joke from one of the South Florida radio stations known for these pranks," she said, according to her Florida congressional office, before hanging up.

Minutes later, she received another call. The voice on the other end sounded, this time, suspiciously like that of incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

"Ileana, I cannot believe that you hung up on the president-elect," it said.

The voice was, in fact, Emanuel's. Ros-Lehtinen hung up again.

Enter House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.), Ros-Lehtinen's Democratic counterpart at the top of the influential House committee. Berman called Ros-Lehtinen shortly thereafter to tell her she had hung up on the president-elect and his top lieutenant.

Ros-Lehtinen, according to her office, demanded that Berman tell her a story only the two of them knew, which he did.

Obama called again and told the Florida congresswoman, "It is very funny that you have twice hung up on me."

According to her office, Ros-Lehtinen told Obama that South Florida radio stations are notorious for such pranks, then congratulated the president-elect on his November victory. The two then discussed Cuba and Israel.

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