McCain insults Long Island, Schumer hits back at Arizona
November 30th, 2011
09:41 PM ET
11 years ago

McCain insults Long Island, Schumer hits back at Arizona

(CNN) - GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona apologized Wednesday night for taking a dig at Long Island, prompting Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York to quickly bite back.

"Isn't it true that Justice (Sandra Day) O'Connor was specifically referring to a person who was captured on Long Island? Last I checked, Long Island was part – albeit sometimes regrettably – part of the United States of America," McCain said on the Senate floor Wednesday.

He made the joke while discussing a Supreme Court case during a Senate debate about detainee policies.

But to one (rather influential) New Yorker, McCain's snark about the island, home to more than 3 million people, wasn't that funny.

Sen. Schumer quickly fired off on Twitter: "All of America saw how heroic Long Islanders were on 9/11. #LongIsland deserves an apology."

About 50 minutes later, a reluctant McCain returned to the Senate floor and took the microphone.

"In an exchange I had on the floor I mentioned that the wonderful people and the wonderful Long Island, I made a joke," McCain said. "I'm sorry that there's at least one of my colleagues that can't take a joke, and so I apologize if I offended him and hope that someday he will have a sense of humor."

The apology, however, didn't seem to do the trick for Schumer, who again took his disappointment to Twitter.

"NYers can take a joke. But if @SenJohnMcCain wants to mock parts of America, stick to Arizona," he wrote.

- CNN's Joe Von Kanel contributed to this report.

Filed under: Arizona • Charles Schumer • John McCain • New York • Senate
soundoff (135 Responses)

    These two old gits = Reasons to set term limits for members of Congress.

    November 30, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  2. Jeff

    Mcain has nothing to apologize for. Long Island is regrettably part of America. So is staten island.

    November 30, 2011 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  3. John

    Thanks for the lesson on how not to apologize.

    November 30, 2011 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  4. Eoin

    Insert foot into mouth there john.

    November 30, 2011 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  5. justin

    this is really news worthy of ...

    November 30, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  6. Independent from NH

    Go Schumer!

    November 30, 2011 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  7. Alex

    McCain = warmongerer. He just voted on a bill that allows Americans do be locked by the government with no due process. Disgusting.

    November 30, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  8. Pete/Ark

    How "mature"&"statesman-like" of BOTH of them...that's the kind of behavior that got us where we are today. (will I go to hell for sarcasm?)

    November 30, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  9. carly

    McCain is living proof that the GOP is out of touch with anyone who is not a hard core right winger. This is why all right winger must be voted out in 2012. They have effectively destroyed this country in the last 2 years with their uncompromising stance.

    November 30, 2011 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  10. take_no_prisoners

    chuck you schumer you yankee pile of demonrat slime. long island? whats that? the oposite of short island? new yuck is a disease that the only way to cure it is to give it a shot of repbulicancillian. old schumer is fannie mae best friend, and wall street loves him so much they gave his campaign millions.....................

    November 30, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. CBR

    The type of comment that Sen. McCain made is not a joke or funny. The comments about Long Island were not necessary and the Senator knows that. Perhaps the Senators should stick to the subjects at hand and keep their attempts at humor, sarcasm, or comedy out of their remarks. While they are at it they might try to be less vindictive and more conciliatory. We just might get some legislation to get us out of this mess they helped to create.

    November 30, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  12. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    McCain promised to build a fence around Arizona to keep out the illegal Mexicans and Canadians....WHERE IS IT??

    November 30, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  13. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Granny Sarah Scorpion calls Arizona home now!

    November 30, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  14. DaveT

    God knows Arizona is a target rich environment

    November 30, 2011 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  15. TM

    Senator McCain should KNOW that we can all take a joke. We accepted his choice for a running-mate didn't we?

    November 30, 2011 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  16. m

    The Senate should apologize to the American people for their despicable behavior. Madison would be rolling over in his grave and the sad state of affairs between the major political parties

    November 30, 2011 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  17. asrael

    Right on: voters can't take a joke, which is why McCain never made it to the big time. Perhaps he could still find a way to make a belated entry into the presidential race, in which case he could become part of the current Republican hilarity...

    November 30, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  18. Rich

    AZ has so much to make fun of it almost would not be fair to do so. Just take John McCain for what he is an out of touch old man.

    November 30, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  19. Mekhong Kurt

    While I don't get McCain's "joke," as he called it, nor his less-than-sincere apology, I do feel Shumer is showing a very thin skin. I don't imagine any of our fellow citizens on Long Island rushed to jump of into Long Island sound to drown their sorrows (and themselves) in despair over McCain's rather stupid remark.

    November 30, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  20. chuck weidemann

    Why is it republicans say something stupid then try to say it's was a joke!! Everytime without fail. Then the apology is never an apology it's I'm sorry if I offend anyone! An apology is I said something stupid and it was wrong!! Very simple,even a second grader could do it!!

    November 30, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  21. ssdwcc

    John McCain is worthless to Arizona and the country as a whole. Take your wife's money and dry up and blow away

    November 30, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  22. Big Al

    No region of the United States sent more men to fight in Vietnam than Long Island. Its population is one of the most important contributors to the economy of America's business seat, New York City. But Long Islanders – who have a reputation for wit and savvy – know very well when to ignore the rantings of a silly old man, so visibly out of touch with the world around him.

    Btw, Long Island's Nassau County (one of her two counties) has a population roughly that of Alaska. To imagnie the token female, whom the old fool threw at us in '08, governing over such a complex place made Long Islanders laugh for months. More idiocy from Arizona. It's not a surprise.

    November 30, 2011 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  23. jaxbeach

    Schumer, as usual, is right.

    November 30, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  24. Shardik

    Not sure why he thought that was funny but it wasn't that big of a deal no matter what.

    November 30, 2011 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  25. concerned

    I'm amazed that this is the story that cnn chose to publish given that what they were discussing in the senate was part of the defense authorization bill that gives the us military the legal ability to detain anyone (including American citizens) anywhere in the world (including within the united states) for an indefinite period without charges, and officially declares the united states as a battleground for the purposes of giving the military additional authority over American citizens

    November 30, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
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