Schumer's message mishap
March 29th, 2011
07:11 PM ET
3 years ago

Schumer's message mishap

Washington (CNN) – Sen. Chuck Schumer was caught in a candid moment Tuesday, instructing fellow Democratic senators to describe GOP spending cuts as "extreme" and to blame the Tea Party for preventing House Speaker John Boehner from cutting a deal to end the budget stalemate, unaware his comments were being listened to by reporters on a conference call.

The behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Democrats' political message strategy came as Schumer, D-New York, was about to begin a telephone call with reporters to talk about negotiations with Republicans over government spending cuts.

"OK," Schumer could be heard telling senators who were preparing to address reporters on the call. "The main thrust is basically that we want to negotiate and we want to come up with a compromise but the Tea Party is pulling Boehner too far over to the right."

"I always use the word extreme," said Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democrat who is in charge of his party's political messaging. "That's what the caucus instructed me to do the other week."

As if on cue, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, opened the call by urging Boehner "to abandon the extreme right wing of his Republican caucus and come and compromise with us."

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, followed. He complained about "some of our right-wing extremist friends in the House."

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, was next. He urged Boehner that "this is not about satisfying the extreme elements of the Republican caucus."

The repetition on the theme went on from there.

The candid comments really weren't that different from anything Schumer has said publicly. Nevertheless, they came at a sensitive time for the budget talks and caused an instant backlash from distrustful Republicans.

"That's really not helpful if we are trying to reach an agreement here," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader.

"Chuck Schumer did us a favor, he exposed their tactic," said Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican leader. "He's basically instructing his members to deem any spending cut unreasonable. Any spending cut. So clearly they are not serious."

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican whip, accused Schumer of wanting "to engineer a political gain, which reporters could actually hear on a call. He's spending more time on politics that he's spending on policy. He's putting politics before people."

Asked by CNN about how the precall incident happened, Schumer shrugged, "I don't know." Then he quickly got back on message, arguing the cuts in the House Republican bill – HR 1 - go too far.
"I do think HR 1 is extreme. And almost everyone in our caucus does," he said before slipping onto the Senate floor.


Filed under: Charles Schumer • Congress • Democrats
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Jen

    "Extreme" seems apt to me. The Tea Partyers would cut their mother out of a budget if it suited their extreme ideology.

    March 29, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    What Schumer says is right: The Republicans ARE extreme! They have spent every waking moment since President Obama was sworn in, trying to make him and our country fail.

    If the Repubs don't like hearing the truth, then TOUGH!

    Personally, I'm sick of their self-righteous whining, lack of ideas and efforts to turn our country into a third-world nation.

    The GOP can all go to Hades, as far as I'm concerned!

    March 29, 2011 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    GOOD! It's about time the Democrats got in step like conservatives! Have you ever noticed that everry time a new topic comes out everybody from Boehner, to Beck from Palin the Hasselbeck all use the EXACT same terms and phrases?
    The phrase for today- "turn around is fair play"

    March 29, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  4. no to slobama

    The True Dems come out to play and get caught with their winky caught in their zippers, wow bet that hurts dont it.LOL, but if you dont think so, just wait till 2012 because it will come up again on the way you guys try to corrupt and cheat the American People............RECALL THEM and IMPEACH POBAMA

    March 29, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  5. hchscheerleading

    wow, this is what the demorats lower theirselves to.

    March 29, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  6. Julie C

    I have to laugh at the Repubs. screaming about "tactics"! At least the Dems. don't make Powerpoint slides bulleting talking points on how to put fear into voters which is what happened during the '08 campaign. Wow, the worst they heard from Schumer is nothing more than what he openly says....big freakin' deal! What a bunch of whiners, the GOP.

    March 29, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  7. Four and The Door

    Washington Democrats are out of touch with Americans and in-touch only with party politics. They need to get out of Washington and listen to what Americans are saying. To start with, Americans outside of Washington are asking for a stop to out-of-control federal spending. Republicans are just listening and doing what we sent them there for.

    March 29, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  8. Frank - Columbus, OH

    Typical left-wing slime. Try to destroy the Republican Party to avoid dealing with any of the major issues.

    March 29, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  9. Al-NY,NY

    and he's NOT telling the truth??

    March 29, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  10. Karen

    Schumer is extremely stupid.

    March 29, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. TOTUS FOR PRESIDENT

    This charlatan should be publicly humiliated to the point that any decent and honorable man would quickly and quietly resign in embarrassment. But thanks to Bubba, we know that disgraced and criminal Dems need not do the honorable thing, thus Schumer sees this as a badge of honor and resume enhancer within the decrepit Dem party..

    March 29, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. terry,va

    Schumer and the dumbocraps don't want to contain cost. They want to continue to break the back of the worker to support all their welfare cases. Heck, Obummie won't even make his buddies at General Electric that made 14.2 billion in profit pay taxes. GE didn't pay a penny in taxes and I paid enough to support 5-6 of Obummie's welfare cases. Schumer and Obummie can blame it on the Tea Party or anyone they want to but working Americans have had enough of their BS socialist policies. I hope the government does shut down if the repubs can't force them to give up their welfare programs.

    March 29, 2011 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Triple A

    Opps, Liberals caught doing what Liberals do....that can't be good. lol

    March 29, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  14. no to slobama

    its a shame that we dont put the real crooks in prison, technically the Dems are raping the American people and in Ecuador they put them in front of squads for this and homeland terrosim, but look close, we actually know who the homegrown terroist are now, its the Democrates

    March 29, 2011 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  15. jefflz

    Another round of cave-in by the Dems even before the fight. Obama has led the way- give in and then talk about compromise!! Stand up and call these right-wing Tea Bagging morons out!! They are destroying our country for the benefit of the extremely wealthy.

    March 29, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  16. rich

    Just shows that the democrats are will villify anyone who does not agree with them if they think it will help them get their way – They are no really "negotiating" in good faith. Get rid of them all and stop this extreme spending!!!! CUT THE BUDGET!!!!

    March 29, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. rs

    Hello- Remember Gingrich's GPOAC memo (1994)? Call the Democrats and their Legislation: sick, liberal, radical, etc. So what's new here?

    March 29, 2011 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  18. willie floyd

    You go Sen. Schumer!!! Everyone knows Boehner only listens to the Tea Party nuts. You were right on IMHO

    March 29, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  19. Johnny DC

    Can't wait to hear the uber-Liberal explanation for this. The whole point of these discussions is to work to somehow find some middle ground - and here is the 3rd ranking Democrat in the Senate intentionally preparing his soldiers to spark controversy and imbalance in the media against the opposition. Propaganda at its worst. Republicans are bad too, but stop pretending the Left is any better when there's proof around every single corner to the contrary.

    March 29, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  20. kayla

    As if the repugs don't do the same.

    March 29, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  21. rob

    Sen Schumer is not serious about negotiating a budget, he is a demagogue, period. I really believe he and the rest of the Dem leadership is less concerned with our fiscal future and the horrific debt that we are in than they are with trying to stop the will of the voters. November was a call from most of the public to the Democrats to controll themselves. The dems had 4 years controlling Congress and the last two in complete controll of the federal Govt. Look where we are now. There is no more money to continue spending. Soon the federal budget will be taken up with interest payments on the debt, leaving the dems with nothing to bribe the people with. Then what?

    Nov. 2012 can't come fast enough.

    March 29, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  22. SoWuts Knew

    Typical scumbag politician.

    March 29, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. terry,va

    I bet Schumer doesn't run his household budget like he does the nation's. But wait, he probably has more money can the fool could spend in his lifetime.

    March 29, 2011 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  24. Eli

    Mean spirited democrats

    March 29, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. Tea bagger!!!!!

    Tea Bagger..Bunch of crazy looney tunes. Great work Sen. Chuck Schumer ..You just been honest :)

    March 29, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
1 2 3