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)
  1. Tom

    McCain.... the man and the state of AZ that refused to recognize MLK Jr. And he has the nerve to insult Long Island? What a putz!

    December 1, 2011 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  2. Mike

    Whats with Republicans. The hatred they have for fellow Americans is despicable. All their jokes hit at the heart of a person my jokes about Republicans are about their policy not the person.

    December 1, 2011 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  3. jesse

    Ouch. He has a point though. Don't throw stones... especually if your state is being seen as the most racist state in the union and other shinannigans relatend and unrelated to that.

    December 1, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  4. Jan Hetterly

    John McCain still hasn't stopped crashing planes; he just does it in Congress instead of Vietnam.

    December 1, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  5. Marry

    …nothing more important to do, Senators?

    December 1, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  6. paulbark

    This seems to be the GOP's approach when making stupid comments. Just say it was a joke. I guess the GOP is a joke.

    December 1, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  7. logic in LA

    McCain is old and has forgotten too much to be in the Senate. When do we start competency tests for candidates to run for office or re-election? Both side have them and both sides need to have some taken away.

    December 1, 2011 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  8. LouieD

    After his 2008 presidential campaign, especially the part where he approved Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain has no standing to make jokes about anyone or anything ever again.

    December 1, 2011 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  9. Adam

    nobody seems to know how to apologize anymore. Kindergarten FAIL.

    December 1, 2011 02:11 am at 2:11 am |
  10. LJTurner

    McCain has proven himself ignorant in more ways than one. Arizona and their governor have proved themselves to be a rather ignorant state, period.

    December 1, 2011 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  11. encore

    mcnasty u cant joke about anybody. u was the biggest fool in 08 to chose a joke like satan palin to be your vp.

    December 1, 2011 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  12. yuri Pelham

    McCain is a joke. He threw the presidency by picking Sarah Palin to be his running mate. His guilt leads him to inappropriate speech. Long Island is part of New York. Arizona is part of Mexico.

    December 1, 2011 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  13. Larry L

    McCain loves to hear his own voice. If he had anything intelligent to say he'd be President now.

    December 1, 2011 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  14. pmn

    The jokes people tell reveal their true character. Even heroes are flawed.

    December 1, 2011 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  15. frag

    There's a difference between sarcasm and a joke. That's why we have two words for two different things. Nice move, McCain! Now I remember why I didn't vote for you in 2008. Looking forward to your retirement announcment.

    December 1, 2011 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  16. steven harnack

    Typical Republican "apology", I'm sorry that you can't take a joke. That's not an apology, it's another insult.

    December 1, 2011 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  17. Beth

    That was not an apology. It is necessary to say "I am sorry" not "learn how to take a joke".

    December 1, 2011 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  18. BD70

    I guess I don't see anything funny in McCain's "joke" either. How is Long Island "sometimes regrettably" still part of the US funny? Now if he had said something along the lines of "unless it snapped off the end of NYC and drifted out to sea" its still part of the US.

    December 1, 2011 04:44 am at 4:44 am |
  19. Stopthemadness

    Just more proof that America made the right decision when they didn't elect John McCain.

    December 1, 2011 05:05 am at 5:05 am |
  20. enough of lies

    its time that these lifers in politics GO. especially McCain who is bed buddies with obama and his sponsering of rounding up and being able to call anyone a terroist even American citizens. his pow status will no longer work for me, I have little respect for a man that uses his power to steal the American Dream. Vote McCain out too. Look At S.1867 in congress, senators are calling Americans terroists if we disagree with them, THEY WORK FOR US, not that wannabe dictator pobama.

    December 1, 2011 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  21. Reynald

    I love Schumer, but his point is invalid if he'll hit back with this Ariona comment.

    December 1, 2011 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  22. Al

    You want a joke? It's called the GOP.

    December 1, 2011 05:33 am at 5:33 am |
  23. Don

    We people here do not call it Long Island it is Wrong Island where you cannot afford to live and we are represented by clowns like Schumer and McCarthy.

    December 1, 2011 05:35 am at 5:35 am |
  24. Coloradan

    Sure it was just a joke, but it does highlight this Republican idea that there are good Americans and not so good Americans. The good ones, who believe in God, de regulation, lower taxes, and Ronald Reagan, and the not so good ones that might actually question this oversimplified view of the world.

    December 1, 2011 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  25. keith A. sillsbury

    is he still breathing? how?

    December 1, 2011 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
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