Is Charlie Rangel contemplating stepping down?

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Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) has remained a fixture in Congress for over 40 years, despite weathering an embarrassing ethics scandal and routinely clashing with President Obama and the White House.

Although his staff has repeatedly insisted the embattled 83-year-old intends to run for re-election, a recent cryptic message from Rangel to his supporters seems to hint he may be reconsidering his options.

Under the subject line “Reflections,” Rangel wrote: “As I look to the future, it is clear to me that our country is at a crossroads … With that said, I have been contemplating my own future and the role I want to play in the fight with my family. I plan to make a decision shortly and will announce before the holidays. Please stay tuned.”

The Harlem Congressman is reportedly burdened with enormous legal fees following his fight, which he lost, to evade censure by Congress for ethics violations. Rangel also lost the coveted chairmanship of the Ways and Means committee, and even President Obama seemed to suggest he should resign.

“He’s someone who’s at the end of his career,” the president said in 2010. “I’m sure that what he wants is to be able to end his career with dignity. And my hope is that it happens.”

But Rangel was re-elected to a 22nd term in 2012.