Rangel takes "leave of absence"

Via The Right Scoop, Charlie Rangel retreats after getting scolded by the House Ethics Committee. Note, however, that Rangel isn’t explicitly tying it to the first finding, but to the ongoing probe on seven other allegations. The headscratching moment comes at the very end, when Rangel returns to the microphone, Columbo-like, to offer a strange ending to the event:

“I also would like to say that, from the very, very beginning, I had offered this to Speaker Pelosi.”

That’s such a transparent falsehood that it beggars belief. Just last night, he publicly refused to step down from the position, going Groucho Marx on Roll Call when asked if he remained chair of Ways and Means.  It’s quite a performance from a man studied in the art of deceit, akin to a Jackson Pollack-style artist finishing his last canvas by dumping an entire can of red paint on it and demanding that someone buy it.  I don’t think anyone’s buying that line from Rangel.

With Rangel politically wounded enough to have to surrender his gavel on Ways and Means, does he run for another term this year?  Better yet, is there anyone in his district who could seriously challenge him even after this?