Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 6 October 2015

The woman who hung up on Barack Obama

Published 05/12/2008

Hung up: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Hung up: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen will forever be known as the woman who hung up on the most sought-after man in America.

The Republican congresswoman received a call from Barack Obama. After listening to Mr Obama for about a minute she cut him off, saying that she wasn't falling for the hoax but that he was a better impersonator than "the guy on Saturday Night Live".

Mrs Ros-Lehtinen must have been thinking of the mockery heaped on the Republican presidential candidate Sarah Palin after she chatted amiably to a Canadian radio station prankster posing as President Nicolas Sarkozy.

A little later, Mr Obama's Chief of Staff-designate, Rahm Emanuel, called her back. The congresswoman said that she did not believe the call was legitimate and hung up a second time.

Finally Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee who knows Mrs Ros-Lehtinen, intervened. Still suspicious, she asked that he recount a story "only both of them would know", and he obliged.

Mr Obama called a third time. "It is very funny that you have twice hung up on me," he said.

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