Rangel to Chavez: 'You Don't Condemn My President'

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:23 PM EDT

(1st Add: Includes comments from Rep. Chaka Fattah.)

(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.), in response to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's comments about President Bush Wednesday, said he is personally offended.

During a speech before the U.N. General Assembly, Chavez said "the devil himself is right in the house," referring to President Bush, who spoke before the world body a day earlier. "Yesterday the devil came here - right here, right here - and it smells of sulfur still today," Chavez added.

But Rangel said neither Chavez nor any other president can come to the United States "and think because we have a problem with our president" that they can denigrate the president and Americans will not be offended.

"You don't come into my country, you don't come into my congressional district, and you don't condemn my president. If there's any criticism of President Bush, it should be restricted to Americans - whether we voted for him or not," Rangel said.

Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also condemned Chavez's comments at a press conference Thursday.

"Hugo Chavez fancies himself a modern day Simon Bolivar but all he is, is an everyday thug," said Pelosi, referring to Bolivar, who led the fight for independence against Spanish rule in several South American countries during the early century.

Hugo Chavez abused the privilege that he had, speaking at the United Nations," said Pelosi, adding that Chavez "demeaned himself and he demeaned Venezuela."

"The statements of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela at the United Nations in New York yesterday were intemperate and inappropriate," said Rep. Chaka Fattah in a statement.

"His differences with United States policies are well-known, and the United Nations is a forum for airing such policy concerns. But his personal attacks and ridicule directed at the President of the United States are unacceptable," said Fattah.

See Earlier Stories:
Muted Reaction to Hugo Chavez's Outburst (Sept. 21, 2006)
Bush Is A Devil, Chavez Says, Echoing Some in US (Sept. 20, 2006)

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