"I thought it was one of the radio stations in South Florida playing an incredible, elaborate, terrific prank on me," Ros-Lehtinen told the newspaper. "They got Fidel Castro to go along. They've gotten Hugo Chavez and others to fall for their tricks. I said,
'Oh, no, I won't be punked.'"
The call came about 1 p.m. Obama congratulated her on her re-election, saying he was looking forward to working with her as the ranking Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs committee, Ros-Lehtinen told the newspaper.
The conversation lasted about a minute when she cut Obama off, telling him she wasn't falling for the hoax and that he was a better impersonator than the guy on Saturday Night Live, she said.
Then Rahm Emanuel, Obama's chief of staff, called the congresswoman to tell her it wasn't a joke. But she hung up on him, too. It took a call from Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, to persuade Ros-Lehtinen that Obama really did want to talk to her.
When the two finally talked, Ros-Lehtinen said she and Obama had a good conversation and she congratulated him for his victory despite how hard she campaigned for his opponent, Sen. John McCain.
He didn't even blame her for mistaking him for a radio-station prank, she said.
"He laughed a lot, saying in Chicago they do it all the time," Ros-Lehtinen said. "He said,
'I don't blame you for being skeptical.'"
Repeated calls by The Associated Press to two office numbers for the congresswoman rang unanswered after hours Wednesday. An e-mail message to an Obama spokeswoman after hours wasn't immediately returned.