|NY Congressman Charles Rangel, NY AG Andrew Cuomo, and NY Gov. David Patterson: Michael Appleton/NY Times|
It was a dramatic but fitting start to an evening that brimmed with political defiance: about 5:45 p.m. Wednesday, as guests began strolling into the Plaza Hotel to celebrate Representative Charles B. Rangel’s 80th birthday party, former New York City Mayor David N. Dinkins turned to confront a heckler.
“You know you are attending a party for a crook,” the man yelled.
At that, Mr. Dinkins, bastion of statesmanship and dignity, raised his middle finger at the man, displaying it for all to see, witnesses said.
In the last few weeks, Mr. Rangel’s birthday fund-raiser, billed by its organizers as a splashy tribute to a titan of New York politics, seemed to have become an embarrassing debacle.
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