A Mississippi congressman says Rep. Charles Rangel of New York owes the Southern state an apology, and he asks if insults are what Mississippi should expect when Democrats take over leadership in Congress.
Rangel, a Democrat, was quoted in The New York Times on Thursday saying: "Mississippi gets more than their fair share back in federal money, but who the hell wants to live in Mississippi?"
Rangel said he didn't intend to insult the state, but Rep. Chip Pickering, R-Miss., issued a sharp statement criticizing the choice of words.
"I hope his remarks are not the kind of insults, slander and defamation that Mississippians will come to expect from the Democrat leadership in Washington, D.C.," Pickering said.
Elbert Garcia, a Rangel spokesman in New York, sent The Associated Press a response from Rangel: "I certainly don't mean to offend anyone. I just love New York so much that I can't understand why everyone wouldn't want to live here."
The Times article was about the political clout gained by the New York congressional delegation in the midterm elections. Rangel is the ranking Democrat on Ways and Means and is in line to become chairman of the powerful tax-writing committee. He said, among other things, that he wants to direct more federal money to his state.