December 4, 2008

Hip to prank calls, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen hangs up on Barack Obama twice.

Good for her! You can't just call people and say you're Barack Obama, even if you're Barack Obama.

It was only a few weeks ago that everyone was laughing at Sarah Palin for talking to a Nicholas Sarkozy impersonator -- and here's that Slate "Explainer" piece -- a propos of the Palin humiliation -- explaining how world leaders actually make phone calls. It's some sort of my-people-call-your-people dance -- but what's to stop pranksters from learning the steps?

After Ros-Lehtinen's first hang up, Rahm Emanuel called and said:
"Ileana, I cannot believe you hung up on the President-Elect," Emanuel said.
She hung up. Good! I approve. Emanuel sounded like a jackass -- like a prankster.
A short time later, Ros-Lehtinen received an urgent call from Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, who informed her that she indeed hung up on Obama.

So, Obama tried again and this time he was successful. (Phew!)

"It is very funny that you have twice hung up on me," Obama said. Ros Lehtinen responded by telling Obama that radio stations in South Florida always make these sorts of jokes. Obama said similar pranksters reside in Chi-town.

"You are either very gracious to reach out in such a bipartisan manner or had run out of folks to call if you are truly calling me and Saturday Night Live could use a good Obama impersonator like you," Ros-Lehtinen joked with the president-elect.
Joked? Or was she still trying to ensure that she would not suffer a Palinesque public humiliation.

34 comments:

Meade said...

Telephone!? It's 2008. Get a Blackberry!

1jpb said...

This congress woman is too cautious.

Palin wasn't cautious enough, e.g. she missed (w/o asking for clarification) the hard to hear part of her prank call where the pranksters complimented her on her new porn movie.

Trust, but verify.

But, most importantly, this story indicates that BHO is probably working fairly thoroughly and strategically to figure out how to move legislation. That is, if he's calling this relatively low level R, he's probably doing other things too, and there's probably are reason for these actions.

And, it's possible that he's actually interested in the opinions of folks on the right. He may not be the communist ideologue some Rs were afraid of.

Not that this sort of reaching out will work for BHO, but it can't hurt.

Hoosier Daddy said...

I guess what surprises me is that the average Joe can actually get through to a congresscritter without going through layers of assistants.

I thought the Sarkozy punking was pretty embarrasing for Palin until I listened to it again and realized that the staffer who handed her the phone telling her the Chief Frog wanted to speak with her either was too dim to realize it was a hoax or possibly was in on it herself.

But therein lies the risk. Go along with the call and you're a moron. Hang up on them and you get a nasty call from the Chief of Staff. Either way you're screwed.

Chris said...

Look at all the press Ros-Lehtinen is getting. This is working out pretty well for her.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Palin wasn't cautious enough, e.g. she missed (w/o asking for clarification)

Or perhaps was too trusting of McCain's staffers who handed her the phone. I wonder what kind of verification process you expected her to engage in.

This congress woman is too cautious.

Yet what kind of verification process do you suggest for minor congresspeople to have to ensure that it is the President calling them?

As I said previously, damned if you do or don't.

Richard Dolan said...

So, now that we know he finally got through despite her skepticism, what did he have to say that was so important? That she was so skeptical shows that she didn't think the real O had any reason to be calling her, and she was undoubtedly right. After she hung up on him the first time, the whole point of the exercise may have been only to find out if he could ever get her to take his call.

Chris said...

Also, I like a girl who understands separation of powers.

laura said...

Though it helped that Palin went through it first (fool me once, fool me twice), clearly she's not as gullible. And too, if she didn't believe it was Obama the first time, why did they go with Emmanuel on second down?

Hoosier Daddy said...

Though it helped that Palin went through it first (fool me once, fool me twice), clearly she's not as gullible

Do you consider it gullible to think that as a VP candidate that you might get a call from the French president?

Tara van Brederode said...

She should have done the "nice ass" line from "The American President." That works every time.

Palladian said...

"Ileana, I cannot believe you hung up on the President-Elect," Emanuel said.

How DARE YOU hang up on the President-Elect! Haven't you seen the lectern?! Don't you understand that THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT-ELECT requires that you take these calls without question?! Who do you think you are, behaving that way towards THE PRESIDENT-ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?! You should be ashCLICK

Good for her. Rahm Emanuel is, in the words of Ex-Vice-President-Elect Richard Cheney, a major-league asshole.

Palladian said...

Or was is Ex-President-Elect George W. Bush who said that?

Bob said...

Palladin, until January 20th Cheney IS the VP. Biden is just the lady in waiting. Then Cheney becomes the former, not "EX" VP.

Lawgiver said...

I see an SNL skit here with members of O'Bama's cabinet repeatedly calling each other and hanging up, not believing who they are talking to.

Darcy said...

Haven't you seen the lectern?!

Oh...LOL!

peter hoh said...

Bob, Cheney used to be VP Elect, he isn't the VP Elect any more.

Therefore . . . .

You figure it out.

Pete said...

1jpb-

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has been in the House for about 20 years and is the senior Republican woman in Congress. She's also the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. She's a little bit higher than a "relatively low level R."

garage mahal said...

Palladin, until January 20th Cheney IS the VP.

That just made the cold hydraulic oil in Cheney's circulatory system surge a little faster.

dick said...

One of my Latina friends has an idea on why he called her, To quote:

She is not stupid - she knows exactly why he called; he has plans to open flights to Cuba for family members to visit and he is testing the Cuban waters in Miami - folks completely against this who can make life very tough for Bambi on this issue

This should be a real test for Bambi if he opens up these flights as this will flush Cuba with american dollars which they desperately need and he will end up dancing to Cuba's rhumba music -trying to look not anti hispanic. This should be fun


She might just have a point. She is very big in the Miami area and with the Cuban community there. In Florida he needs them. Obama is just trying to play politics and I hope she handles him with kid gloves.

Shanna said...

But therein lies the risk. Go along with the call and you're a moron. Hang up on them and you get a nasty call from the Chief of Staff. Either way you're screwed.

Exactly. This is what happens when you mercilessly rag on someone for being mistaken…people are going to require a lot more proof that the person calling really is the person calling.

knox said...

Hung up on Obama? eh.

Hung up on Rahm Emanuel? High five!

Chris said...

I'm with Knox. Then again, I lost my only political race (treasurer of the Dungeons and Dragons club) so I can't offer practical advice. Still, given that this is still a Republic where the legislative branch is not subservient to the executive, and considering that Ros-Lehtinen has been around a lot longer than Obama, maybe he could leave a message and her people could get back to his people and they could work something out.

walter neff said...

I thought Althouse was the one that was hung up on Obama.

Chris said...

Buyers remorse vis Obama is mitigated by the alternative. Hell, based on his moves so far, Obama seems about 3 degrees to the left of Bush.

Freeman Hunt said...

Her accidentally hanging up on Obama is funny because one can see how that would happen.

I agree with knox that hanging up on Rahm--that's awesome. I love how he comes off as a complete twit, "Ileana, I cannot believe you hung up on the President-Elect." As if he couldn't figure out what had happened. Sounds like a thirteen year old girl. Hilarious.

Freeman Hunt said...

In fact, if I were her, I'd feel bad for accidentally hanging up on Obama, but when Rahm called, I might be tempted to hang up on him even if I knew it was really Rahm. "Oh, so sorry. Thought you were a prank caller as well. Oops and all that."

Alex said...

I'd hang up on him every time even if caller ID said POTUS.

Verso said...

Ann,
Is it just me, or do you sound reallly defensive about this? I don't think anyone's blaming Ros-Lehitan; people are just having fun with it.

She's on cable news right now and everyone's laughing.

This is what we need more of: Less partisan hatred, more mutual friendship and respect.

Full disclosure: I don't always practice what I preach.

Host with the Most said...

I see an SNL skit here with members of O'Bama's cabinet repeatedly calling each other and hanging up, not believing who they are talking to.

Or SNL where Obama sits in the Oval Office and makes prank calls.

Bob said...

"Bob, Cheney used to be VP Elect, he isn't the VP Elect any more.

Therefore . . . .

You figure it out."

Peter, got it! Suspend reality for 8 years because its very what, adult? VP-elect Biden. Ok, it has an attraction. Still, acting like my 5-year old just seems... Childish

Palladian said...

It would be really, really funny if she said: I hung up on Obama because I believed it was a prank call. I hung up on Rahm Emanuel because I believed it was Rahm Emanuel.

Meade said...

Yeah, or if she said, "I hung up on Rahm Emanuel because he raised his voice with me and used language unbecoming of a gentleman."

Cedarford said...

Dick's post was a good one because he got to the possible basis of the call. Obama is thinking of major changes to the old policy towards Cuba the older, hardcore Exiles dictated to the Republicans.
One good lesson we got out of Iraq was toeing Chalabi and the other Exiles line as "they know best what America should do, being Exiles and all" cost US interests dearly.
Now, the old Cuban exiles are not the general crooks the Iraqi exiles that snookered the Neocons were...but a few are, and an odious few are terrorist supporters.

With Fidel in his twilight and Raoul making moderate reforms - now is a good time to rethink the hardline policy the Exiles dictated to the American Government.

That Obama is reaching out to key Republican leaders is a good thing.

And the phone hanging up business is a funny thing, but it gave the public a little window to see Obama's Transition Team and Obama himself are hard at work "shaping the new directions" America will go in. And not leaving key Republicans in the dark but seeking advice and their thoughts...

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