(CNN) – When a deal on expanding background checks was announced Wednesday, only two senators stood on stage – Republican Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Absent was another lawmaker with a long history of advocating for gun control: Sen. Chuck Schumer, the New York Democrat.
Two sources familiar with the situation told CNN that Toomey did not think it was a good idea for Schumer to attend the press conference announcing a bipartisan background check deal, because Toomey feared it would antagonize the powerful National Rifle Association.
Though Schumer made a name for himself in the 1990s as someone who loves the cameras, he is more focused these days on coming across as a leader who can reach across the aisle and rack up legislative accomplishments.
For that reason, Schumer told Manchin Tuesday night at former congressman Joe Scarborough's fiftieth birthday party that he thought Manchin and Toomey belonged out front, and that he did not need to be involved in the rollout, according to a Senate Democratic aide.
"Passing the bill is more important than who gets the credit," said the aide, asking to speak without attribution to discuss private conversations.