Rangel Steps Down From Chairmanship - 'Temporarily'

Good. This was a distraction we don't need. He'll be replaced by Pete Stark: WASHINGTON - After being admonished by an ethics panel for accepting c

Good. This was a distraction we don't need. He'll be replaced by Pete Stark:

WASHINGTON - After being admonished by an ethics panel for accepting corporate-sponsored trips to the Caribbean, Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., said Wednesday that he will take a leave of absence from his chairmanship of the powerful House Ways and Means committee.

Rangel made the announcement to reporters on Capitol Hill, saying he would not answer any questions.

"I hope you don't mind. I don't take questions," he said.

He added that "from the very, very beginning, I had offered" to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to step down from the post. He said he was leaving now "to avoid my colleagues having to defend me" during the campaign season.

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