Schumer's message mishap
March 29th, 2011
07:11 PM ET
7 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. Alex

    I think most us Democrats are just relieved that our leaders finally have a strategy. So what if it's pointing out the obvious? Most Americans already know the GOP is catering to extremists, but it's going to benefit everyone in the long run when the majority of GOP are voted out in 2012!

    March 29, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Bill from GA

    So the Dems are stupid; the repugs are mean AND stupid.

    And they all act like amateur politicians. Maybe that's best; it might be really scary if they were more competent at doing their dirty deeds.

    March 29, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. terry,va

    May I remind Squiggs and the other fools out there that the rich didn't get a tax cut. ALL TAXPAYERS pay the same rate as they have the last 8-10 years. I really wish Obummie would have let ALL the tax rates go up. Let a poor man hire you fools.

    March 29, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. GObama!

    Who cares? The measure IS extreme, and the GOP has been ruled by extremists long enough for anyone with half a brain to figure it out. Non-story.

    March 29, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. T'sah from Virginia

    ["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."]

    AND IT'S TRUE!!!!!

    "Chuck Schumer did us a favor, he exposed their tactic,"
    said Eric Cantor the other prissy, priss "hairdo" fanatic
    Everyone has TACTICS on how to win a campaign
    LQQK @ the crap up ya'll sleeves – so don't even complain

    "He's … instructing his members to deem… spending cut[s] unreasonable.”
    But YOU – Cantor et. al. – meeting them halfway would be feasible
    Then you MIGHT come out on top and the LEFT seem UNDER-HANDED!!
    But back to the TRUTH – poor Repubs – the TP got you branded!!!!

    March 29, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. catmom

    And what part of that is NOT true?

    March 29, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. Tired of the nonsense

    So the TeaPartiers are the "ones behind the curtain" we're not supposed to pay any attention to but who are running the GOP....

    And with Fox News still being the propaganda machine that Goebbels would have given his eye teeth to have as well, the TPers running the GOP, and the Koch brothers being the embodiment of the Dark Side of the Force that is destroying America from the inside.... Yeah, the GOP is evil and has earned the name the American Taliban.

    March 29, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. stand4trugh

    Good for you Schumar, someone needs to tell the truth to those folks. Not once has the baggers complained about the cuts to the rich, what hippocrits. I think the bruhaha is really about people of color getting handouts or something. Please tell those very uninformed props of the super rich corporations that that there are a lot of white people in need also. So, don't bite your nose to spite your face. By the way, why are they just cutting services to the poor? Why not the loopholes for corporations sending millions of jobs overseas?

    March 29, 2011 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  9. Henry Miller

    Typical politician–never tell the truth when a lie will do.

    Someone made a cool comparison last week: If the entire federal budget was represented by the calories in a McDonald's Big Mac meal, the Republican's budget cutting proposal is the equivalent of skipping on third of one French fry. And this is what this idiot is calling "extreme."

    Politicians will do just about anything to rob Americans of every dime they can lay their hands on, and it's utterly, thoroughly, contemptible–and lying-by-exaggeration to get away with stealing more ought to be considered an act of treason.

    March 29, 2011 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. DBFCO

    Are you kidding me??? These guys don't give a damn about the Country or its people. All they care about is keeping their cushy self serving jobs, throw them all out!

    March 29, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  11. Ex-GOP Con

    Nothing newsworthy. It's true. It is extreme. And the TEA Party is to blame.

    March 29, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Philabias

    Need anymore proof they dont care what we want. they spend and then assume we are to stupid to get it. America why do you elect this trash. They ARE why we are in this mess, we should be casing them with ropes and pitch forks. WE deserve every lie and every evil deed they do to us. we even give them our money to do it to us with........

    March 29, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  13. California Conservative

    Schumer's message mishap
    Mishap / misspoke does it really matter because the liberal press will give him a pass no matter what, won't you CNN?

    March 29, 2011 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Right Leaning Independent

    Well, all parties do the same thing. The only difference is this liberal moron got caught! It makes him look like a complete fool and worse yet, the message rings hollow!!

    March 29, 2011 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. all the news that's fit too omit

    This is the same thing the WH does when they send tweets out to the LSM, every morning Meeeka on MessNBC get tweets with the morning talking points and she admits this on air.

    That's why old media and the Demonrats liars are going down.

    Liars, cowards and thieves all liberals.

    If you took the letter I out of Obama's speech last night, it would have lasted five minutes.

    One and done, 2012 can't get here fast enough.

    March 29, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  16. Perry

    Chuck is a smooth talker and central voice for the democrats. No sense having freelance party members open their mouths and get a foot stuck in it saying what they really think. Chuck basically thinks for them and guides them along with catchy street tested wording and phrasing so there's fewer mix ups to explain to nosey news people later. Repetitive sub-liminal wording mesmerizes the listener to your central theme and draws them in to your mental net. Yes Master we believe, works every time.

    March 29, 2011 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  17. Shannon

    The cuts are extreme, meals on wheels, heating subsidies, housing for disabled vets, all being cut. What is not being cut, oil subsidies, the GOP would never take anything from their big business friends. We pay millions in tax payer dollars to the richest companies in this country, but we can't give some old person a meal, or a veteran who fought for this country a place to live. You go tea party, keep fighting for Corporate America.

    March 29, 2011 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. The reality is...

    Spending taxpayer money on whatever they want in order to keep themselves in their political camps is what really is EXTREME!

    March 29, 2011 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  19. Hangar 13

    The guy is just such a phony it's hard to know what to say. He obviously cares bupkis about the American people and everything about power and political gamesmanship. We deserve better, we got rid of a slew of his ilk last November but there is clearly much more work to do. November 2012 can't come soon enough.

    March 29, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  20. positano

    Hey where are all the comment on this snecky sly Chukie Smu–e Schumer..

    March 29, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  21. positano

    Wow don't tell me no body has anything to add besides me!! I guess this isn't news..

    March 29, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  22. Hartland Paula

    Blah Blah Blah – does this surprise anyone? We all know that the talking points go out and the cattle follow orders – why is this news? Our country would be so much better off if we actually had some elected representatives that thought for themselves and did not swallow the political group think whole. Just wait till you 11 o'clock news it will all be regurgitated. Yawn.

    March 29, 2011 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Both sides are guilty of hyperbole. The GOP has called Obama a socialist (which he isn't) and not an American (which he is also). The Democrats have questioned the tea partiers over what they are claim to know.

    March 29, 2011 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  24. mfhpr

    How about that...a REP saying that a DEM is putting politics before people. Oh, the hypocrisy of those wacky REPS.

    March 29, 2011 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  25. Barbara Price

    It appears that the Republicans' are blowing smoke up the American public you know what. They tend to use the American public when they see fit. They did not mention what the American public wanted when they wanted to extend the increase for the wealthy. Moreover, they have not consulted the American public in regards to the budget cuts. It is the Tea Party that is trying to undermine the American public in order to push their own agenda. I am appalled at what I hear as I watch C-Span. I perceived them to be a racist group of individuals who are very dangerous. The American public know that they are out to repeal anything that the president and his cabinet has put in place. They are not concerned with what the American public think. If they were the would be working on jobs for those who are unemployed instead of complaining about the stimulus monies that were used to help the American public with saving their homes while they were and continue to be unemployed. The deficit is not the real issue. If it were then we would not have invaded Iraq which is the primary cause of the nations huge deficit. In addition, they are wasting time and money appealing the health care reform. What is important to the American public are family, health care, and jobs that pay a decent living wage. I believe many of us can live with the current health care plan. Especially those of us who have no health care or jobs at all.

    Tell the Tea Party and Republicans to stop the games. Many lives are at stake. This is totally ridiculous and nothing but non-sense.

    March 29, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
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