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Overheard: Baltimore Congressman Has His ‘Rudy’ Moment

Cummings made his mark on camera, shouting into a bullhorn Wednesday night. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Cummings made his mark on camera, shouting into a bullhorn Wednesday night. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings forged a powerful image during the second night of Baltimore’s self-imposed 10 p.m. curfew, using a bullhorn to clear crowds from the streets, including a Fox News reporter. During a live-from-the-scene interview, Cummings wandered away from the camera, turning his attention to the street. Instead of responding to a question from Sean Hannity, he lifted the bullhorn and shouted, “I need you to help me get these people home. Let’s go home! Let’s go home!”  

The footage may explain why Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich., seemed starstruck Thursday afternoon when she saw the Maryland Democrat in the Speaker’s Lobby. During an interview with HOH about campus security, the House Administration chairwoman did a quick double-take of the congressman, who stood chatting on his cell phone, back turned to the chamber. “Is that Elijah Cummings?” Miller asked HOH, mid-sentence. “Let me just tell you what, he had his Rudy Giuliani mov-moment last night. That guy, if I was out in that crowd last night and I heard him, I’d think, ‘I better go home.’ He was unbelievable last night, really. …”  

Amid the chaos of 9/11, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani projected a similar heroism. Shortly after the first tower collapsed, the Republican emerged from an office two blocks from the scene. He urged calm as he headed north, his torso dusted with white ash. The New York Times described his politically transformative day in 2007, as Giuliani campaigned for president:

That walk north, the spareness of his words and his passion became the founding stones in the reconstruction of the mayor’s reputation, transforming him from a grouchy pol slip-sliding into irrelevancy to the Republican presidential candidate introduced as America’s mayor. The former mayor has made this day the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, aware that millions of Americans hold that heroic view in their collective mind’s eye.

Cummings’ passionate display gained him plenty of attention from reporters Thursday. They flocked to the 64-year-old Baltimore native as soon as his phone call ended, asking for his take on the recent violence.  

“Really, he was really something,” Miller said.  

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