Profile of Sen. Chuck Schumer CSPAN February 22, 2019 3:01pm-4:34pm EST
with noted historians. explore the lives of leaders, challenges they faced and legacies they left behind. published by public affairs, c-span's "the presidents" will be on shelves soon. you can order your hard copy today at c-span.org/thepresident s or wherever books are sold. >> the gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute without objection, so ordered. >> mr. speaker, if this bill passes, we will add a fourth r to the curriculum of our schools, reading, writing, arithmetic, and religion. mr. speaker, some of the opponents to this bill have brought a very legitimate objection what is happening in our schools. students should be allowed to bring a bible and discuss
religion in their schools. unfortunately the bill goes much further. it would allow three students to -- in many school districts to get together and invite devil worship, sun young moon, or any other cult into their school, and it could not be stopped. many school districts would allow holy communion or other full religious prayer services as long as they are student in oured to occur classrooms. i cannot yield. i have only one minute. sen. schumer: we debate fiercely and forcefully but respectfully the founders of our republic, the titans of the early senate, webster, clay, calhoun, debated until they were blue in the face. from time -- >> and that video was charles schumer in one of his first c-span appearances in 1984 and then senator chuck schumer today. he is the current senate
democratic leader. for the next hour, we will look at his career and political rise just as we have done with speaker pelosi, mitch mcconnell, and house minority leader kevin mccarthy. to help us chart his career, we will make full use of the c-span video archives as well as our two guests, longtime political congressional reporters alex bolton of the hill and carl hulse of the new york times. about what has made charles schumer successful, what comes to mind? carl: he is a great political tactician. he really understand instantly, in the late politics and what works. on that first clip of a very young chuck schumer, he had a little bit of a gimmick he was using, we are going to add religion. he is good with the soundbite,
but he is also a policy guy. he understands policy. it is politics that drive chuck schumer and always have. alex: one of the anecdotes i heard about schumer is he has a rare combination of talent in washington. he is a good inside player, he is a good outside player. he knows how to raise money and that has been a theme throughout his career. it is why he has risen to power. more than anything, perhaps, is the money he has been able to raise. and he has never forgotten how important that is. it is a good distinction compared to the senate democratic whip dick durbin, a great inside player and more of a true liberal. he didn't match the fundraising game schumer did. he knows what his colleagues want on both sides of the aisle. he can cut deals. he is a -- he is very adept at handling policy. he knows the details, and handles them with facility.
when you put those two combinations together, it's like a baseball player who hits for power and bats for average. >> he spent about 18 years in the house of representatives. was he noted early as a potential leader or potential spokesperson? carl: i think that a spokesperson for the party could be very [indiscernible] he could get in and out in front of a message. i don't know people thought of him as -- i don't know if anyone was looking at him as a future speaker or anything like that. he was also, other democrats did look at him, but it was sort of for messaging. he knew how to cut through and come up with a good line. i think that is one of the things that drives republicans nuts about him is he can get in the jab pretty well. president and he have this interesting relationship. the president has taken to calling him crying chuck. but the president also called
and hopedhis election they could work out a deal that haven't really worked out so far. i think schumer has been able to push back against trump. they are two new york insiders. >> the hometown newspaper as well, that these two know each other? >> they were in queens. they have contacts and did business. they both sort of appreciated the wiliness of the other. but still, they are together although it's not working as well. >> one of the first meetings congressional leaders had with trump after he got elected -- i remember we were hearing the comments from senator cornyn, the republican whip, and he mentioned that trump and schumer had more in common than any of the republican leaders and
trump did. they were hesitant to support him in the 2016 campaign. around, trumping and schumer were batting around all these people they knew in common in new york. they know how much you raised for the dnc see, when trump was german, how much he raised. he implied to have raised millions for the dnc see, but schumer said it was later only $230,000. still, it was a lot of money. soon after, schumer made it a point to say trump and i were never friends. we knew each other, but we never golfed together we never shared , a meal together. we weren't buddies. so i think from the outset, schumer was very leery about being seen as too cozy with trump. and then of course the relationship -- >> you could triangulate him,
possibly. chuck schumer thought he would be majority leader after the election in 2016. he was preparing for that. he told me, you know, he was depressed for days after the election and trying to figure out what to do. and he sort of came and said, my role now really has to -- it is even more important and i have to get ready. stand up for my party. >> there was an interesting shift immediately after the election. he told the new york times reporters right after the election, if the president wants to pursue trade policies and infrastructure policies that we support, we have an obligation to pursue those goals with him, but been in a cnn -- then in a cnn interview, he said the president would have to abandon his republican colleagues and come completely in our direction for us to work with him. that time of courtship and bromance did not last very long. >> we are going to get into that
a little bit as we walk chronologically through senator schumer's career. elected in 1980, the same year that president reagan was elected, but it was in 1985 that chuck schumer responded to the president's state of the union address. [video clip] sen. schumer: in a sense this is not the american revolution. the president is talking about the new american convolution. black is white, white is black. helping the poor means cutting their programs. causing peace means building new arms. the president again is a masterful performer. there is no business like show business and the president pulled it off with an aplomb no one else can. he echoed the themes the american people want to hear. but when you look behind and look at the program, he does not do what he says he is going to do. and sooner or later at least in my book, that catches up with
you, and it will catch up with him. >> more lines. he has three or four in there. he's trying to separate the party from reagan. and it was interesting that he got that platform and that people were listening to him. at that point he is already sort of improved a bit from the first time we saw him. he was more serious on the floor. you can tell by the microphones there he had drawn a crowd. people were paying attention. >> when did you first meet chuck schumer? >> i probably started noticing him in the 1980's, but i didn't cover new york. i was doing a different role for the times. i was covering him for papers around the country. he was obviously a presence in washington. somebody that you could pay attention to.
i have gotten to know him quite well. i probably did him what he appreciates was a good turn. the times has a policy of using formal names, and we always referred to him as charles e. schumer in the paper. and you know, senator schumer some to be casual in respects and he refers to remain chuck. i told him the paper will use usename the person wants to he said i want to be chuck. , we changed it to chuck schumer in the paper, and he has been very happy ever since. >> that is great. our paper still refers to him as charles. i thought no one calls him , charles. it's always chuck. it is a weird thing. that clip was very interesting. the thing that -- and i wasn't on the hill back then in the 1980's, but my personal reaction was the intensity he exudes in
that response. you know, razor-sharp, very intense. he has since become, and that clip you showed on the floor more avuncular in his demeanor , and i think a little less razor-sharp, a little less cutting in his demeanor, and i think that -- this is something we will get into later in the program, but he had a reputation for being a little bit cutthroat and ambitious in the house, and he has reined that in. he is more of a team player now. people who know him say he evolved in politics. >> but he is the head of the team now. [laughter] it's easy to be a team player at that point. alex bolton you started with the , hill in 2000. when did you first start noticing then senator schumer? he was elected to the senate in 1998. alex: i grew up in connecticut. believe me chuck schumer and
actuallytrump dominated the market in the 1980's when i was a kid growing up. i remember his first race for senate. the schumer-d'amato race. prominents a big, figure in new york and schumer was initially thought of as the underdog. we didn't quite understand where the country was going. we realized that new york was becoming as democratic as it has become. schumer is, even that he was a member of the house, he always, at least in the new york city media market had a big presence. that was equipped by bob dole, which we will talk about later in the program, the most dangerous place to be in washington was between chuck schumer and a tv camera. >> we are going to talk about that right now. this video is from january, 2018. [video clip] >> unfortunately familiar with
his trademark wit, senator dole is responsible for a certain quotation that hounded me for many years. apparently, the most dangerous place in washington is between chuck schumer and a camera. >> [laughter] [no audio] now for the benefit of posterity, that observation, which has been made before about bill graham and your homeboy, arlen specter. but for some reason, when senator dole uttered those famous words about yours truly, it stuck. >> [laughter] sen. schumer: senator dole, i bear you no ill will. after all, you were the one who brought c-span to the senate. i never would have found as many tv cameras without you. >> [laughter] [applause]
so alex bolton a grain of , truth in that statement? alex: i think so. i remember someone complaining that chuck schumer, although he was known for his lust for the media spotlight, now he is pretty careful about who he will speak to in the capital. he will only speak at press conferences. he will usually eschew an interview. i remember i complained he wasn't answering my questions or being accessible, and i think his response was good luck , trying to convince people in washington that i am not media accessible. he has always had that reputation, but he is not as accessible as some people on capitol hill. dick durbin, his longtime
roommate, one time rival will always talk to reporters. yes he likes the spotlight, but , he is pretty careful and strategic about how he gets his message across. carl: i agree with everything he said. chuck schumer when he was rising in his media career pioneered the sunday press conference in new york. there's nothing going on, you can get a lot of attention on a for some issue. sunday i think kiersten gillibrand has taken over that spot. but chuck schumer now has the power that he was using the media that helped him accumulate. he is very careful. he walks through the capital with a flip phone. he is not very tacked for sure. alex: he often has a cell phone glued to his ear. carl: pretending so that
reporters cannot talk to him. he also -- you can get to talk to chuck schumer, you can find things out. he still wants to talk to the media and use it to advance a cause. he is just a lot more careful. >> the correct caricature of a young chuck schumer is somebody who was always looking for a tv camera. that is over now. he is a guy who is working much more behind the scenes and a lot more careful about what he says. he definitely evolved in that. >> if you go to c-span.org and go to our video library and type in chuck schumer, 7000 videos appear. if you type in charles schumer, about 400 appear. we switched our id for him as well. he didn't make that request to us directly. we will change how we type it just like the new york times did. >> going in to see chuck schumer
now he is in the nice light of office,nice leadership he has a fireplace, and he is very struck by the fireplace. he is always commenting, we didn't have one of these fireplaces back in brooklyn. >> one of the issues that he worked on in the 1990's was the assault weapons ban. before the republicans took over the house. carl: that was part of the crime bill. this was a big bill, but it also led to the downfall of democrats in the house. that was part of their issue. that crime bill was something republicans were able to run against and put in the assault weapons ban and take over the house. there were a lot of tough on crime things in the bill that at the moment seemed like good politics for democrats. three strikes and you're out. some of the increase in policing is part of that.
now some of those things are what democrats are running away from. part of the reason joe biden is -- these issues that they supported back then. but gun control is back on capitol hill with the democrats in the house. i think democrats and chuck schumer were very leery of that issue for a long time after the crime bill passed and they lost the house. now they see that as a potential winning issue. they can't obviously with republicans in charge of the senate. that is not going anywhere, but i think you will hear folks talk about it a lot. some of the things they did in the crime bill are haunting some of these political careers. >> let's look at some video of representative chuck schumer from august of 1994. [video clip] sen. schumer: ok, well thank you. i am joined by many of my colleagues who were supporters of the crime bill.
and i will introduce them one at a time after i finish speaking, but we want to thank you for coming. first i thought we would show that the american people support every portion of this crime bill. they favor the ban on assault weapons 71%. they favor three strikes and you're out, 74%. they favor more funds for law enforcement, 79%. and get this, money for prevention, 65%. the idea, when the republican leadership says the american people don't want prevention, is belied by this cnn usa today poll. and death penalty for non-murder crimes is the lowest, 60% because newt gingrich and the republican leadership have spent a week demonizing a bill that should have overwhelming support in the congress just as it has overwhelming support among the american people.
>> alex bolton, that was before you came to capitol hill, but would chuck schumer say those same words today? alex: i don't know how he would handle it because that bill has not aged well for democrats. the clip is long, and it's an interesting one. he spent a lot of time arguing about all the compromises he made to win over republicans , talked about all of these provisions he included from henry hyde, a top person on the judiciary. another top republican. the thing i think is controversial is the three strikes you're out law and mandatory life sentences and expanding the death penalty for non-murder crimes. those both don't look so well.
as carl just said, it is a problem for joe biden especially in a democratic primary where the african-american vote is crucial. and that constituency is not a fan of legislation that led to mass incarceration, which is a major problem today. and so, watching that clip, he goes on for a while. schumer is so focused on trying to win republicans over and trying to please republicans and counter republican criticism, in -- he talks about all of these provisions in the bill. in the end i don't think they ever gave him credit for passing the bill, and now it's almost a liability. it is a political liability for him. i think if there ever were a primary, senate primary in new york -- is that a question? could could aoc run against him? if she did, this could be something she could run on. carl: there has been talk in the
past about a primary from the left or chuck schumer. i don't see that. certainly not right now. he is just at the top of his power and game here, and i think he has the ability to raise an incredible amount of money to fight anything off. i do think new york has changed. it will be interesting going forward how he manages that. i like that video because the background in the video, you have a very young nancy pelosi, others standing waiting to speak. it is showing that those people are still here today and back in power. it is just interesting to watch that and with chuck standing in front of them with all the talk. >> is there an issue with the left, the progressive left now and the democratic party, some of these old-timers or long timers? carl: i think that chuck schumer
devoted a lot of energy to protecting his more moderate members, but they lost in the last election. claire mccaskill, heidi heitkamp, that was a major focus for schumer's efforts, and he got a lot of protection from them too. those people are gone now in the senate. mostly the senate democratic conference is more liberal, and he has less concern about the split in his party. the party is pretty united now. they are a little more cohesive on policy than they were. i ran into some folks. senator schumer, we were talking about this, he spends a lot of energy defending democrats. now he doesn't have that. now he can go on offense. it is the republicans who have the people who are in trouble. so the playing field has shifted
for him since the election in terms of his own caucus. i think. alex: i think like any good politician, and max baucus, longtime democrat from montana, he used to have a saying only , the paranoid survive. that explains the mindset of a good politician. they are always looking off to the horizon to see what is the next development. yes, schumer is at the top of his game. he is an amazing fundraiser. just like mcconnell, he nevertheless -- never rest on his laurels. mcconnell probably has a safe reelection this year, but he's not letting any daylight between himself and trump because he knows politics. once you let the daylight in, that's it. that explains what we have seen from schumer the last two years, the pivot i mentioned earlier where right after the election, we were willing to work with trump and shifting a month later.
he would have to completely abandon his republican colleagues. and then something that i think something that struck fear into schumer was when there was a big protest outside park slope, new york. people were still carrying skeletons saying chuck, grow a spine. there was a raucous crowd, a big crowd, an angry crowd. they were angry that schumer wasn't doing enough to oppose the trump agenda. after that, you saw a shift in schumer. he stiffened his spine and waged an all-out effort against trump's nominees, judicial and otherwise. and so i think he has gotten the message that to be leader of the party, he has got to be a little more liberal than he used to be, and i think we are seeing that. realdo think it had a impact on chuck schumer.
did the defeat of joe crowley wake up the democrats of new york? >> i think it had to. and kind of to alex's point, they were like, we need to pay attention here. we can't take everything for granted. democratic party is moving and they are moving left. chuck schumer is still on the right end of that is the way i would describe it. but i think he is aware of it. you mentioned mcconnell. the schumer-mcconnell relationship is very interesting to me and has a lot to do with the way chuck schumer conducts himself now. chuck schumer had won the democratic senatorial campaign against this would have been in 2008 when mcconnell was up for election. this was during the economic crisis, and they ransom and -- -- they ran some ads against mcconnell on his vote for tarp.
that really irritated mitch mcconnell because the democrats wanted him to vote for tarp and before it then they used it , against him. it really created a rift with schumer and mcconnell. it has been getting over that, but chuck schumer likes to now say he and mcconnell can get along. he laughs at his jokes. schumer is somebody who wants to be liked by his colleagues, which is different than harry reid who really didn't care if his colleagues liked him or not, didn't care if mcconnell liked him. >> the other thing schumer did to run afoul of mcconnell was he was one of only six democrats to vote against mcconnell's wife, elaine chao, when she was being considered for trump's cabinet. so that was i think seen as a personal slight towards mcconnell. i remember after mcconnell won the election in 2008 he gave a speech downtown, and he was asked about that, that the
democrats used his tarp vote against him, and he saw it as a betrayal. because he worked with them in good faith to save the country from disaster, and they turned around and used it against him politically. >> he was very irritated and i know he was very irritated about the elaine chao vote which a lot of people in both parties thought there was a lot at -- thought it was a mistake. there was no point to it. she's basically a professional cabinet member. she was qualified. she had been, she served as a professional cabinet member. that one, but they seemed to have -- they can work together. we certainly have a better personal relationship it seemed to me than mcconnell and harry reid.
>> that is serious chuck schumer right there. what he is doing their is talking about the clinton administration and janet reno. that was seen as a botched raid at waco. he is doing it in a way that is pretty smart. the republicans weren't looking to take down the clinton administration. that was in 1995 after the republicans have taken over.
when you see them again you see it was a huge thing. it took over the conversation. this is more video from 1998. >> the distinguished senator elect from new york, mr. schumer. >> when the founding fathers to sign the government of this country, they realized it would be rare and crucial times in history when it would be necessary to break into the regular order of how our government works to pull our nation out of crisis and save the republic.
they designed impeachment for these times. now we are only one day from possibly passing a resolution to remove a duly elected president from office. faractions we take tomorrow transcends the conduct of bill clinton and will have profound consequences on the future of this country. if we vote articles of impeachment, i fear that we will be setting a precedent that will weaken the office of the president, whether the president is removed from office or not.
what would we be removing him for? sex.nd lying aboutse >> that made me understand why schumer's mother was so disappointed after he graduated from harvard law school, he decided not to get a job with a law school -- firm. he decided to run for assembly in new york. have been ahe would great lawyer. he would have been a brilliance litigator. watching how his mind works. it is really impressive.
he breaks down the articles of impeachment. the only one that has any bite to it is the perjury charge where he testified under oath. he misled under oath. theaid you might have president there. but if you talk to the american , and ask if this is a real perjury to lie about sex, most americans would laugh you out of office if you did something like that. when the special prosecutor has to to come up with other charges. he said they were laughable. he also did a good job of skewering the republicans. it shows he would have been a
brilliant litigator. given that standard. >> hold onto that clip. that could be really interesting. it could be a reversed argument if anything is done with president trump. who is also in some suspicion for lying. it also reminds you that democrats did ok in that election. partially because of the on presidenttack clinton. and then went on to impeach him anyway. considered a big thing at the time.
they were determined to do that. you went to that clip again,. >> the junior senator from new hillary a while clinton, here is senator schumer walking her down to be sworn in. was there any issue with him dealing with a high-profile senator like her when he is the senior senator at this point? there was some concern that he would be overshadowed. but they had different goals. schumer was never running for president.
she knew she was going to be running for president. often the worst relationships in the senate are from sales senators from the same state of same party. because they are competing for money. september 11 really brought them together. they did a lot of work on it. if their ambitions have been similar it would have been a disaster. but they worked ok. >> he admitted that there was some jealousy and rivalry. and then they realized it was better to work together than at cross purposes.
he was a pragmatist. ego was under threat because hillary clinton was a bigger start the time. he very quickly realized it was better to put his ego in the rear and work together. they almost had a great relationship. that would have been fateful for them. >> you both were covering the hill at that time. would you have rather had an interview and a quote from hillary clinton or from chuck schumer? >> i would rather have a quote from hillary.
you could not even get close to her. she would have an entourage. she was a massive star. think people knew she was going to potentially run for president on the road. hillary was biggest celebrity. >> it was interesting because she did something that has become a bit of a gimmick. we are only talking local issues.
for me, chuck schumer was a guy who would honestly tell me more about what was really going on. i had a hard time explaining this to people. they were the people making things happen in the senate and greasing the wheels. i remember covering senate leadership. i had a question related to a book. i had to wait and track her down. she came out and i was waiting for her.
someone once describes the house .s a barrel of crabs the senate is not like that. it is more collegial. it has these great traditions. you get along with people. the idea is to get along with people. is treasured. that sums up what chuck schumer is all about them the senate. one of his favorite tactics is telling the press what republicans really think. from the scuttlebutt he is hearing in the senate gym. we saw one of the things
that tom is an anecdote be respected in congress, you cannot have a sense of moral superiority. you have to understand where the other person is going from. some democrats have a little bit of that moral superiority. when it comes to poverty or climate. that turns people off. schumer has been known as not having that. -- that is what also made harry reid a good leader. you have to understand where the other side is coming from. when you are negotiating with someone you have to tell them what they should want. that is where respect from the other side is coming from.
should not make a deal. all house members come over to the senate. in the senate, the saying is you cannot delay until tomorrow. it is different than the house. gym rat.umer is a i'm not sure that he still plays basketball anymore. >> you both mentioned the gym. let's hear it in chuck schumer's own words. made many friends there, including a whole lot of senate republicans.
democrats exercise late in the day and sleeping. republicans exercise early. we have become friends. bike. i like to watch their reaction when donald trump says something that is a little bit off. i have never been in the senate's gym but it must be quite a scene there. that is a little bit more old-school washington. here, chuck schumer found one place where he can sound out his republican colleagues.
he and senator alexander are very good friend. he has found a way. i don't know whether his republican friends might start not talking to him in the gym so much. it is a cramped place. it is not that nice. it is no equinox. or 24 hour fitness. the machines are all bunched together. the only person i saw working out at 7:00 at night was bob
menendez from new jersey. another serious issue we went to -- through as a nation was the iraq wars and 9/11. here is senator schumer in october of 2002. world therest-9/11 are no good choices. only less bad ones. the choice before us is this resolution, imperfect as it is, or none at all. saddam hussein, his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and the will he has shown to use them makes the none at all option unacceptable. so i will vote for this resolution. more than anything else we can do, this resolution will show him and any naysayers in the united nations that we are
serious about this war on terrorism. we understand the challenges of this brave new world. and we are prepared to meet them. >> democrats are always worried about being portrayed as weak on national security. where they hadnt to step up and support this warm. -- war. other democrats did not support it. they really came to regret that boat. at the time that vote was
thought it democrats was the politically smart thing to do. barack obama was not in the senate then. he opposed the iraq war. it was hillary's achilles' heel in 2008, voting for that war resolution. so did john kerry and john edwards and joe biden and chris dodd. any democrat who is thinking of running for president felt they had to. it was the worst vote of their career. the criticism of schumer is that he sometimes leans too much toward political expedience.
here is a vote where political expedience took presidents -- precedence. other members of the leadership team voted no. robert byrd, one of the most conservative democrats, voted no. he was very vocal. >> he was a late career antiwar leader. i think that you have a great point that if you are making those votes on political basis, instead of what you really think , they can come back and haunt you. this was 2002, less than a year after 9/11. york andou be from new vote against a response?
i think schumer knew it was a dangerous vote. it is a 15 minute speech. he goes through all the reasons. he is very careful on how he presents his decision. he says this is the toughest vote anyone can take. andalks about terrorism being in new york during 9/11 and how much it affected him. is giving credence to the argument that somehow iraq was connected to al qaeda. even at the time, democrats were debunking that argument. it may have had some political traction in the national environment. but i don't think the democrats ever truly believed it. even that during debate. what they were worried about was the 1991 gulf war. the democrats who voted against that looked foolish because the great -- war was a great success.
i went back and cover that vote. story.my i was curious. in our very happy coverage of the skepticism being put forth by a lot of other that the cia was not credible on this. there was a lot of misinformation already coming out of the administration. clinton thought they needed to align their votes . that would've been problematic for both of them if they had split from their fellow democratic new york senator. a complicated vote. you never know how these are going to play out. >> chuck schumer became the
chief money raiser of the democratic party. >> i want to thank you for your leadership. excited about harry as our leader. he has already taken charge in so many different ways. the most recent is the vanquishing of the debt. we are back. we are excited. about thehusiastic upcoming legislative session and our prospects in 2006. first, in record time we vanquished the debt. it was $3.6 million that was left to us. we raised more money than had ever been raised before.
we hope to continue in that tradition. >> that was early in 2005 after the democrats got the senate. >> the democrats were still a minority. they had 45 seats. they were well in the minority. in 2006, there were more democrats up for reelection than republican seats. when the democrats picked up six majority, and then they picked up another nine seats eventually. to 59.
and then harry reid got arlen specter to switch parties. that is the history there. it was such a huge upset. you could see that there was going to be a wave in the house. like what we saw this year in 2018. but the senate races broke late. it still was not known until election day. it came down to some really close races. where schumer scored some points is in recruiting bob casey and pennsylvania. a pro-life democrat. son of a pro-life democratic governor who had real credibility in the state. it does not seem like such a surprising group in retrospect,
but at the time it was smart to go against his party to pick someone who was pro-life to run and win that state. also jim webb in virginia. that was the race that gave them the senate majority. he was reagan's former labor secretary. so again schumer is going with someone else. that was a big upset. people were talking about george allen running for president. schumer raised a ton of money. he is one of the best fundraisers in washington. he has a lot of contacts in new york. that helps. >> are you talking about financial people on wall street? >> he is very adept.
i think his favorite job is maybe head of the democratic senatorial campaign committee. even if other people have taken that job, he is still the head of the democratic senatorial campaign committee. to. emanuel did this when they were trying to take over. they went and got conservative moderate centrists who they thought were more accessible. i don't know if you can do that now. it will be tough for the democrats. maybe in montana. >> quietus wall street support senator schumer? pretty cageyn
redistricting. he was the freshman. his seat was on the chopping block. called everyone in new york. i'm not sure what inside track he had. thatised so much money democrats said we cannot cut his seat and then fast-forward to 1998 when he ran. articleading a primary last night and at the end of , the vice presidential candidate mark green, they are polling well ahead of schumer. ahead.
he dramatically outraised him and before the race started, he had $6 million in bank. green had something like 500,000. won.nk that sums up why he career, he wasis .p -- much more up front of glass-steagall. early in my career, i wrote a involvedut how he was in this is actually caused some friction. herote a piece on how
intervened with the ruling that laterrmer chairman said led to the collapse of enron. i remember when i wrote that he called my editor-in-chief at the time and really complained about it. it is something he is sensitive about, the idea that he is cozy with wall street. you write about. to demonstrateg andhow he sold class rings that could not have been easy. >> guy could sell will stop
guyink people said this will make a deal, so let's keep a connection with him. >> november 8, 2016. >> i will work every day to be deserving of your trust. i will never forget what it means that you gave me the honor of working with you and tonight, there is another thing that could happen. there's a chance i could become the majority leader of the united states senate. [laughter] >> but i promise you if i get that honor, i will be working for new york as hard as ever because i love new york and it is in my bones. night?e were you that
>> i was a couple of blocks. i think at that time, i had a pretty good idea that he was not going to be a senate majority leader. you cannot underestimate the expectations. that heblicans thought was going to be the senate majority leader. there was a lot of anticipation that hillary would be the president and he would be the majority leader. like things were not going that great. there was a big thing. he was going to become the majority leader and have all this power and all of a sudden it was yanked away from him. he has managed to use the power that he has.
they could have been much worse. intocould have gotten far the minority. they managed to win a couple of races. they have themselves set up where they had a chance to get the senate back. it will be tough for them, but they are cut off. >> where were you that night? .> i was walking home election, werehe working. i did not go to bed. .hat a surprise and a shock in fact, her later from a republican leader.
he recalled his conversation with chuck schumer on election night and call schumer on the phone and he said well, we think hillary can still win. big surprise. aftermber writing a story in october 2016, after the access hollywood tape came out, after rob portman pulled his endorsement on paul ryan, the house speaker, said he couldn't defend this anymore, there was discussion, maybe we need to go big, maybe we are thinking too small. after "access hollywood" we could pick up a scale of 6, 7, 8 seats. this could be a total wipeout. trump wast was finished.
time, i was writing this article in october, talking about the optimism among some democrats, schumer. -- schumer was the voice of reason. throughout his career, he has been a poll-focused politician, and he saw the polls and argued within democratically circles to keep the resources on our top-priority races, let's not expand into ohio and some of these other states. so i think he knew it was going to be close even though i think he thought hillary was going to win. he likes to consider himself the real expert. he pays a lot of attention to these races. a couple of weeks later schumer
was elected the democratic leader in the center. we had a great meeting and i'm truly humbled and honored to receive the support of my colleagues to be the next leader of the senate democratic caucus. i'm even prouder to introduce the team joining me here today, which i will get into very soon. i came into this office fully aware of its challenges, what it means that my colleagues trust me to live up to a high standard set by my friend, mentor, just my foxhole buddy harry reid. harry reid is like a brother to me, his support and counsel are invaluable, and i speak for the entire caucus when i say, we are
grateful for his leadership, his service, his friendship. now i want to say to the american people exactly what i just said to my caucus. i'm going to wake up every single day focused on how senate, gratz can effectively -- senate democrats can effectively fight for america's middle class and those struggling to join us last tuesday night was something none of us expected. i suspect that is true for many of you in the press as well. it certainly did not go the way we democrats hoped. >> i see over chuck schumer's shoulder, why wasn't he minority leader? interesting, those two men were roommates for 10 years here in washington, but there was also a rivalry. there were two stars in the
house, they came up in the senate around the same time. dick durbin became the with, i asked -- became the withhip because harry reid asked him to. he was the handpicked deputy but then schumer leapfrogged. schumer leapfrogged. as he alluded to read there, he became. reid's closest confidant and was almost the power behind the throne in many ways. i thought schumer was calling a lot of shots for the end of reid's tenure. so there was a lot of tension there. just like anyone who has had a brother or sister, you know what
it feels like when you're getting leapfrogged. it hurts and i think it caused some bad feeling, but on the other hand durbin realized he was beat, and part of the reason is because schumer is a better fundraiser and today fundraising is the currency of power. and also, you know schumer brought democrats majority as dnc chairman. he had so much status in the caucus because of that. and also as dnc chairman 2006-2008 when they picked up so many seats, he recruited these guys, he had personal relationships with all these guys that durbin didn't really have roots or durbin had to concede -- really didn't have. so durbin had to concede. and the night harry reid
announced his retirement, durbin said to schumer, you have earned the mantle, it is yours. schumer says he wept in gratitude but immediately afterwards there was a dispute about what actually happened in the conversation. durbin aides were climbing schumer said he would support durbin to run for reelection as whip, but schumer denies the promise was ever made so it was an awkward thing. they couldn't even agree on
whether schumer promised to back durbin or not, so it gets the heart of the awkward friend-rival relationship. that was part of his plan, and he just thought that schumer was going to be a better leader. he liked durbin but he saw qualities and schumer that made him superior to succeed him. schumer brought everybody into the leadership that willay. harry reid made a lot of decisions on his own and was willing to take the heat. chuck schumer wanted joe mansion on the leadership team, the opposite of elizabeth warren. he wanted bernie sanders on the leadership team, so he was thinking beyond what senator reid has done, and it has worked for him. and to his colleagues he at least creates the image that he is consulting with them. whether that is what is really going on overr he then closes the door and makes a decision is a different story. but i think people feel more involved, durbin is comfortable and the role he is in and they work well together.
dick durbin has taken on a roll among senate democrats as one of the leaders in the judicial fight. . . i think they have worked or not. it's funny though, they were roommates for a long time in their crazy group house that a member had, a lot of stories about how crazy that living. situation was host: situation was. senator schumer talked about life is the majority leader -- life is the minority leader. -- talked about what life is like as the minority leader. >> a job is to form a group that can get things done. it is hard to get 40, 50 people
who are very strong-will together and united. mr. schumer. the senate floor is a very useful place to get a whole lot done. you are face-to-face with everyone. it's a great place to do business. when you do have just a faction to accomplish it it doesn't last as long, so the senate, by its rules and conditions, pulls people together and if you are doing something big it is easier to get it done in a bipartisan way in the senate. he basically confirmed what you both just said, but the other half of this is his relationship with mitch mcconnell. he introduced senator schumer at the mcconnell center at the university of louisville. i want to show you that.
>> in his memoir, chuck remembered his parents actually didn't want him to run. they thought the life of a corporate lawyer would be respectable and comfortable. [laughter] chuck, my life would have been a lot easier if you had only listened to your parents. [laughter] it is like an offense of indie defensive coordinator. as coach for petrino can tell you, offensive coordinator is better. [laughter] >> every day when the senate floor open for business, after the prayer and pledge of allegiance, each of those has a chance to do opening remarks without reviews retailing the business of the day. traditionally, i speak first followed by the democratic leader, but now that we have this show on the road, i am the
warm-up act, and i am thrilled to have my good friend, the democratic leader of the senate, with me this morning. join me in welcoming chuck schumer. [applause] >> a rather collegial intro, wasn't it? >> yes. takenk chuck schumer has great pride that he has broken through with senator mitch mcconnell and as schumer says, he can get senator mcconnell to laugh at his jokes. that's a point of pride. considering the bitterness on and the votetion against his wife as cabinet secretary, they both seem to have patched things up. it is tough right now. into 2020eady moving
there was a lot of talk about how the whips would get along well because they both know how to get things done. after 10 years, how wrong that prediction turned out to be. it's such a partisan job and it has become such a partisan job i think the senate is changing. talk to any senator who has been there a long time and they will agree, it has become more political and more partisan. part of it is the explosion of interest in fox news and cnn and the hill and political roll call and every single story is magnified that makes it much tougher to maintain a good relationship. and that was surprisingly warm, what we are seeing. i was surprised to see genuine affection there. i also see some genuine frustration. the minister put things aside like senator mcconnell is very
proud of his center in louisville and he brings people in. there was a big change when bill frist went and campaigned against tom daschle in 2004 and that was a big change from the days of howard baker and george mitchell working together. i agree with you. it is getting harder for the folks were learned half that kind of cordial relationship and chuck schumer went out during the shutdown and banged on mitch mcconnell every day for not doing enough to get this over with. i don't know how they cannot let that interfere with the personal relationship. >> i just saw a story of schumer trying to recruit a strong challenger to mcconnell, amy mcgrath. there have been some spats in washington of recent, and we want to show you one that took place publicly. these are terrorist, people looking to do harm. we need the wall.
we need border security, of the which the wall is just a piece. >> we have a lot of disagreements are. "the washington post" says that you constantly mistake how much of the wall is built. that's not the point. that is not the point. we have a disagreement about the security,on border but on the wall. we do not want to shut down the government. you have called 20 times to shut down the government. you said, i want to shut down the government. we don't. we want to come to an agreement. if we can't come to an agreement, this solution has
passed the house and senate right now that will not shut down the government. that's what we are urging you to do. not threats to shut down the government. if you can't get your way. let me say something, mr. president. you say, my way or we will shut down the government. we have proposal that democrats and republicans will support that will not shut down the government. we urge you to take it. >> and if it is not good order security, i want take it. because when you look at these numbers of the effectiveness of our border security, the job we are doing with our military
can i tell you something? where you have walls, it's effective, we don't have all, is not effective. >> that was to new york is going out each other. like for a parking space or something. that was a brilliant moment for schumer because he caused trump to commit a major gaffe, trump said, i will be the one to shut it down, i won't blame you for it, speaking to schumer and pelosi. he claimed credit for the shutdown and senate republican leadership had to come up with talking points to label the shutdown, which many knew was coming. schumer shut down 2.0, because there was a shut down in 2018 over the daca, the dreamers' deportation. republicans had to throw those talking points away because schumer outfoxed trump by getting under his skin,
dominating the press conference, schumer wouldn't let him dominate it and got the president frustrated and he made a major gaffe. schumer knew had to work trump. he and nancy pelosi are not intimidated by trump in the slightest and he just baited them in. and chuck schumer, he was behind the little shut down in 2018 in january. they went a week and the democrats couldn't get out of it fast enough. chuck schumer made that shutdown happened and he didn't want to do that again, and that moment he finally gets the president to say he is going to take the mantle, schumer was, i got him, now i got him. >> are you suggesting the bait the bait was preplanned? there were definitely going in there to suggest that the shutdown was preplanned. no one ever says, this is my
shut down. and it was just a disaster for trump. absolutely. trump's numbers dropped noticeably. schumer crushed trump on the shutdown, and pelosi to come of -- and pelosi too, the two of them together. >> mitch mcconnell, they had passed the bill in the senate and fully expected the president to change his mind. let's bring this full circle. chuck schumer is minority leader in the senate. how do you view him with his legacy and what are his strengths? it's too soon to tell. he wants his place in history and he hasn't got enough time in the spotlight yet. but i think this could be the tough election for them. they are down a few seats. i personally think they made a mistake in the 2018 the terms. i think the kavanaugh hearing was a disaster for them. and joe manchin thought and claire mccaskill thought the way they demonized kavanaugh was the reason they lost races. i think right now schumer has a
lock on the leadership but i don't think he can really assess his legacy until he reaches the pinnacle, top leader in the senate. >> his legacy at this point is that he has been able to deliver democrats in the senate joining the pack. and i think he is right, we need to see him as majority leader and how he would operate. the policies that are being put forward by the ascended part of the policy are not necessarily policies chuck schumer would want to get behind, medicare for all, universal health insurance, chuck schumer is a more incremental person in terms of policy, and how he would handle this new surge on the left or big, sweeping change on climate change, big health care, i don't know, but he has shown himself to be an extremely powerful political operative and now great policy operative.
one thing that is important, he was the force behind the 2013 immigration reform bill. we are talking about the most difficult issue in policy in washington. that got 68 votes on the senate floor. 14 republicans supported. schumer was the mastermind. paul ryan wouldn't put it on the floor, if he did it probably would have passed. that would've been a major achievement for him that he was denied but it showed that he can , get major stuff done and build a bipartisan coalition, so it's a taste of maybe what could be greatness or historic compliments in the future. alex bolton of "the hill," and carl holst is a chief washington correspondent for "the new york times." our political debate up there is quick hit and worst of all, not fact-based. i think that started in the house. new gingrich and i get along but he started that style of debate in the late 1980's and it spread, and now the blogs and social media protect it. there is no fact checking or anything else. it's bad for america. there used to be arbiters and maybe people didn't like the arbiters, and they would say that is not true, we are not going to like right. that doesn't happen on blogs, much is believed and it hurts the reputation of the senate
beyond what is deserved. the inability to get big things done is deserved criticism. but calling a senator scoundrel in right-wing and left-wing blogs is not deserved, and a fine group of people as a whole is disrespected in the country. [no audio] that got 68 votes on the senate >> the house and senate return
address. later this week, andrew wheeler, head of the environmental protection agency. this weekend, c-span has live coverage of the national governors association winter meeting beginning with the montana governor on how to build the workforce of the future. a.m., cnn host commentator van jones. after, jamie dimon on the intersection of public policy and the modern economy and sunday at 9:00 a.m., governors look at the new u.s., mexico, canada trade agreement. hutchinsona
discusses education policy this weekend on c-span, c-span.org or listen with the free c-span radio app. >> next, free speech and the rights of students. at 7:00 a.m., mary beth and her brother talk about their expenses and take questions from students. at 8:00 a.m., american history tv or the skin -- continued the discussion live on washington journal. this american history tv weekend on c-span3. >> the founder of the climate change organization