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tv   Profile of Sen. Chuck Schumer  CSPAN  February 22, 2019 1:31am-3:04am EST

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>> this bill would allow holy communion to occur. i cannot yield, i have one minute. . >> we debate fiercely, but respectfully. the founders of the republic, the titans of the early center, clay, calhoun, debated until they were blue in the face. that video was new york representative charles schumer in one of his first c-span appearance in 1984 and then senator chuck schumer today he is the current senate democratic leader, and for the next hour, we will look at his career and political rise, just as we have
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done with speaker pelosi and leader mitch mcconnell and house minority leader kevin mccarthy. career, wecharge his will make full use of the c-span video archives, as well as our two guests, longtime political congressional reporters carl bolton of the hill and holes from the new york times. when you think about what has made chuck schumer successful, what comes to mind? >> he is a great political tactician. he understands innately what works. on that first clip of the very young chuck schumer, he had a lit hold it -- little bit of a gimmick, adding religion, he's good with the soundbites but he is also a good policy guy, he understands policy, it is politics the drive chuck schumer. anecdotes i read
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about schumer is that he is the rare combination of talent. is a good inside and outside player. he knows how to raise money, and that is been a theme throughout his career, it is why he is risen to power. more than anything, perhaps, is the money he has raised. his never forgotten how important that is. it is a good distinction compared to the senate democratic whip, dick durbin. inside player and more of a true liberal, but he never mastered the fundraising game. he is also a good inside player, he does with his colleagues want. he is verydeals, adept at handling policy. he knows the details. you put those two combinations together, it is like a baseball player who hits for power and bats for average. >> 18 years the house of
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representatives heard was he noted early as a potential leader? >> i think a spokesperson for the party, because he is very glib. i don't know that people thought of him, i don't think anyone was looking at him as future speaker or anything like that but other democrats did look to him, sort he knew howging and to cut through it and come up with a good line. i think that is one of the things that drives republicans nuts about him, that he can get in the chapter there pretty well -- the jab there prretty -- retty well. he and the president have a interesting relationship. the president called him crying chuck, but he also called him a bb lee after the election hoping they could do deals.
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-- immediately after the election, hoping they could do deals. they are to new york insiders and they know how to do it. >> did these two know each other? >> oh, yeah. trump is probably a schumer donor. brooklyn and queens, they had contact and did business. they both sort of appreciated the wildness of the other -- wilyness of the other. and still, they are together, though it is not working as well. >> one of the first meetings congressional leaders have shop after election, we were hearing anecdotes from the republican whip. he mentioned the trumpet schumer had more in common than any of the republican leaders, of course, they were hesitant to support him.
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trumpet schumer were batting around all these people they knew in common in new york, trump then talked about how much he raised for the dsc seat when schumer was shared, how much he raised. the president implied he had --sed millions for the dcc the us see, schumer later clarified it was $230,000, still a lot of money. , hehe was very soon after made it a point to say that trump and i were never friends. we neverach other, but golfed together, we never shared a meal, we were not by -- buddies. from the outset, schumer was worried about being seen as too cozy. >> he could triangulate him, possibly. chuck schumer thought that he would be majority leader after the election in 2060.
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he was preparing for that, and he told me he was depressed for days, try to figure out what to do. he came and said my role now is more important and i have to get ready and stand up for my party. >> there is an interesting shift after the election, immediately after he told the new york times. if the president wants to pursue trade policies and infrastructure policies that we support, then we have an obligation to pursue those goals with them. he said the president would have to abandon his republican colleagues and come completely in our direction. that. courtship did not last very long .
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>> we are going to walk chronologically through the career. elected in 1980, the same year that reagan was elected, but it was in 1985 that chuck schumer responded to the state of the union address. >> in a sense, this is not the -- revolution,p but the new convolution. black is white and white is black. helping the poor means cutting their programs. causing peace means building new arms. the president is a masterful performer. there is no business like show business, and the president pulls it off with anna flung no one else can. he echoes the themes the american people want to hear, will be look behind of the programs, he just does not do what he says he will do. and sooner or later, that catches up with you, and it will catch up with him. lines.n, more
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he has three or four in their. -- in there. partyes to separate the from reagan, and it is interesting he got that platform and people were listening to him. he already has improved a little bit from the first time we saw it was more serious and just not one minute on the floor. a new tell by the microphones that he had drawn a crowd, people were paying attention. >> when did you first meet? >> i would say in the 80's. i've been around for a long time but i did not cover new york is much, we were doing different roles for the times. but he was obviously a presence in washington. somebody that you did pay attention to. but i have gotten to know him quite well. appreciate's was a good
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turn. times have a policy of using formal names, we would always refer to him as charles e schumer in the paper. schumer know, senator likes to be casual in some respects. fewer -- he prefers the name chuck. when i told him that the paper will use the name that the person wants to use, he said i want to be chuck. we change it to chuck schumer in the paper and he has been happier percent. >> is a great anecdote. our paper so refers to him as charles, and whenever i write that name, i think myself nobody calls charles. that clip was very interesting. the thing that struck me, seeing him now, and i wasn't on the hill back then in the 80's, but my personal reaction was the intensity he exudes and that response. razor-sharp, very intense.
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that other clip he showed, he has become a little bit less razor-sharp, a little bit less cutting. this is something i know we will get into later, but he had a reputation for being a little bit cutthroat, ambitious. he has rained that in, he's more of a team player. he of who knew him say all the politics. is the head of the team now, you've got to be a team player at that point. [laughter] >> he started with the hill in 2000. when did you start noticing senator schumer? >> i grew up in connecticut, so that the new york medium. believe me, chuck schumer and donald trump dominated the media market back in the 80's when i
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was growing up. i remember his first race for senate, the schumer d'amato race. d'amato wasig deal, a big, prominent, powerful figure in new york. schumer was initially thought of as the underdog. we did not understand what the country was going, we did not note new york was headed as democratic as it was. even though schumer was a member of the house, at least in the new york media market, had a big presence. that leads to the quick by bob dole that the most dangerous place to be in washington is between chuck schumer and a television camera. >> we are going to talk about that right now, this video is from january 22. >> -- january 20. his trademark wit, senator gold is responsible for a certain quotation that handed me for many years -- hounded me
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for many years. apparently the most dangerous place in washington is between chuck schumer and a camera. [laughter] [applause] perhaps a grain of truth. now, for the benefit of posterity, that observation, which has been made before about your homeboy arlen specter. but for some reason, when senator dole uttered those famous words about yours truly, it stuck. senator dole, i dare you know ill will. after all, you are the one who brought c-span to the senate. i never would have found as many tv cameras without you. [laughter] [applause] bolton, a grain of truth
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in that statement? >> i think so. a personal anecdote i can member , though complaining chuck schumer was known for his lust for the media spotlight, now he is pretty careful about who he speaks to. he will only speak at press conferences, if you try to speak to him in the hallway, he usually issues an interview. even before that, he became steadily more strategic and careful. i remember once i complained that he was not answering my questions are being accessible, and his response was good luck trying to convince people in washington that i am not media accessible. he has always had that reputation. he is not as freely accessible as others on capitol hill. dick durbin, his longtime roommate one-time rival, for instance, will always stock -- talk and speak to reporters.
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spotlight, buthe he is strategic about getting the message across. >> i agree with everything you have said. schumer pioneered the sunday press conference in new york. there's nothing going on, you can get a lot of attention on sunday. has takenllibrand over that government may to pass it on. but chuck schumer was using the power with the media to help them accumulate. he is in charge, he knows things. he is very careful, he walks to the capital with a flip phone. >> still has a flip phone? >> he often has a cell phone glued to his ear. pretending sor reporters cannot talk to him. and if you can get into top chuck schumer, you can find
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things out. wants to talk with the media and use it to advance his cause. he is just a lot more careful. i do think the correct caricature of the young chuck schumer somebody who is always looking for a tv camera, that is over. he is a guy who is working much more behind the scenes and a lot more careful about what he says. he has definitely evolved. >> and if you are to and our video library, type in chuck schumer, several thousand videos will appear. if you type in charles schumer, about 400. , so we switched our id for him as well. change how we type of their name, just like the new york times. >> one thing about going in to see chuck now he's in that nice office right off the senate floor, has a fireplace.
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he is very struck, he is always commenting on that. he does like the trappings of being in power. >> one of the issues he worked on was the assault weapons ban before the republicans took over the house. >> writes, and that was part of the crime bill. a big bill, but also lead to the downfall of the democrats in the house. there were also a lot of tough on crime things that come at the moment, see my good politics. -- eem like good products good politics. thingsme of those are democrats are running away from,
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part of the recent joe biden is wary of getting into the race. he will be held accountable for some of the issues that they supported back then. but gun control is back in capitol hill. i think democrats in chuck schumer are very wary of that after the crime bill passed. now they see that as a potential issue, they can't with republicans in charge of the senate, but think you will hear more talk about it. aboutssue has come back -- around some of the other things which are now haunting the political careers. >> let's look at more video from august of 1994. >> i am joined by many of my colleagues, who are supporters of the crime bill. i will introduce them one at a time after i finished speaking,
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but we want to thank you. 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 funding 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 actually the lowest. 60%. newt gingrich and the republican leadership has spent a week demonizing a bill that should have overwhelming support. >> that was before you came to capitol hill, but would chuck
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schumer say the same words today? >> i do know how he would handle it, because that bill has not aged well. the clip is pretty long, and it spent ateresting one lot of time arguing about the compromises he made to win over republican. the former prosecutor, a senior on the committee, and other the thing i think is controversial is the three strikes you are outlawed, mandatory life sentences. also, expanding the death penalty for, as he says, non-murderous crimes. well, and asook so they said, it is a problem for joe biden, especially in a democratic primary where the
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african-american vote is crucial and that constituency is not a fan of that legislation. it has led to mass incarceration, a major problem today. clip which goes on for a while, schumer is so focused and to with republicans over and please republicans and counter criticism, he talks that all these provisions, in the end, i do think they ever gave him credit for passing that bill of and in fact, it became a political liability. primary, aer were a senate primary in new york, is it out of the question? could aoc run against him? if she did, this would be something to run about. >> there have been concerns about a primary for chuck schumer. i don't see that now. certainly not right now.
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he is a top of his power and game. he has got the ability to raise an incredible amount of money to fight anything on. -- off. i do think new york has changed, and it will be interesting how he manages that. i have to say i really like the video, but the background is really interesting. you have a very young nancy pelosi, anna eshoo's standing there. thises show you that people are still here today and back in power. it was just interesting to watch that and with chuck standing in front bringing them all up to talk. is there an issue with the progressive left for some of these old-timers were long timers? chuck schumer devoted a lot of energy print -- to protect his
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who theyrate members lost in the last election, claire mccaskill, heidi heitkamp, that was a major focus of schumer's efforts. thus people are gone now. mostly the senate democratic conference is more liberal. he has less concerned about that spread in his party, his party is pretty united now, and a little more cohesive on policy than theyey were -- were. folks, andsome senator schumer, he spent a lot of energy defending democrats. now he does not have that, he is more on often. it is the republicans who have people in trouble. it has really shifted for him since the election, in terms of his own caucus.
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like any good politician, there was a saying that "only the paranoid survive." there are always looking off to the horizon to see what is the next development. schumer is at the top of his game and a massive fundraiser, but just like mcconnell, he never rests on his laurels. mcconnell probably has a safe reelection, he is not letting ,nything between amateur because he knows in politics, once you are in trouble, it is almost too late. i think that explains what we have seen from schumer over the last two years. ,he pivot i mentioned earlier we are willing to work with shop , shifting a month later, he has to abandon republican colleagues.
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what struck fear was when there of hisig protest outside park slope in new york. there was a raucous craft a big crowd. they were angry that schumer was not doing enough to repose the shop agenda. saw a real shift in schumer. he really stiffened his spine and waged an all-out obstruction effort against trump's nominees, judicial and otherwise so i think he is gotten the message that to be a leader of the littlehe has got to be a bit more liberal than he used him and we are seeing that. >> he saw that and responded. did the siege of joe crowley wake up the democrats in new york at all? >> i think it had to.
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, we need tos point pay attention here. the democratic party is moving right now. chuck schumer is still on the right end of that. mcconnell, the schumer mcconnell relationship is very interesting to me and has a lot to do with the way chuck schumer conducts himself. chuck schumer had a rant democratic senatorial campaign in 2008 when mcconnell was up for election, this was during and theymic crisis, ran some ads against senator mcconnell. that really irritated mitch mcconnell, because the democrats wanted him to vote and before,
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but they knew they could use it against him. the really created a rift with schumer. there has been some getting over chuck schumer now likes to say that he and mcconnell can get along and he laughs at his jokes, schumer is somebody who wants to be like from his colleagues. >> the other thing schumer did to run afoul of mcconnell was he was only one of six to vote against elaine chao which is be considered. -- when she was being considered. that has been seen as a personal slight against mcconnell, and after mcconnell won reelection 2008, he gave a speech downtown and was asked about that. use the the democrats tarp vote against them, and he saw it as a betrayal he worked
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in good faith to save the country from the disaster and they turned around and use it against him. >> i was in kentucky, and he was very irritated or it and i know for a fact that he was irritated about elaine chao, which people in both parties that was a mistake. there was no reason for, she was going to be confirmed, and in terms of some of the truck cabinet nominees, she was qualified. she is a professional cabinet member. they do have a closer relationship than mcconnell and harry reid. that really deteriorated. >> let's go back to the video archives and look at an issue from 1995 when chuck schumer was one of four democrats on the waco investigation. >> let me begin by saying that i believe with all my heart that
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we should have hearings on the incident at waco. this is the first of eight very sad days. we are going to talk about the deaths of men, women, and children, including atf agent's. if we can learn from this tragedy by bringing out new fact, or even if no new facts come out, by looking at old facts in a fresh light, then it is worth the effort because in the words of justice brandeis, sunlight is the best disinfectant. the danger is that we will not shine sunlight, but a strobe light, flashing on and off and distorting our vision. >> in the fog of time, we have forgotten how big of an issue that was.
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>> that is serious chuck schumer right there. this was really read after the republicans had taken over. was widely seen as a botched raid in waco, and he was doing it in a way that was pretty smart. he wanted to make sure david karesh didn't become a martyr. the republicans were looking to take down the clinton administration and put the blame on them. this was a new role for him. that was in 1995 after republicans had taken over the hearings. it was interesting how you could see at the time how that took over the national conversation for quite a while.
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and it was part of what fueled anti-federal law enforcement feelings in parts of the west. part of that sentiment is still very prevalent in the republican party. >> we went to show you some more video. this is from 1998. again, the clinton administration is involved, but it is now senator-elect chuck schumer. >> ladies and gentlemen, the distinguished senator elect from new york, mr. schumer. sen. schumer: thank you, mr. chairman. when the founding fathers designed the government of this country, they realized there would be rare and crucial times in history when it would the necessary to break into the regular rule of order of how our government works to pull the nation out of crisis and in fact
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>> watching that clip and the previous clip from waco made me understand why schumer's mother was so disappointed that after he graduated from harvard law school he decided not to get a job with a law firm and make a lot of money in new york. he decided to run for assembly. that disappointed her. she thought he would've been a great lawyer, and he would've been a brilliant litigator. that's on display in those clips. watching how his mind works, it's really impressive. he breaks down the articles of impeachment and says the only one that has any bite to it is the perjury charge where he testified under oath. he prevaricate it, he misled under oath. you might have him there. but if you talk to the american people, is this a real perjury, to lie about sex? most people would laugh you out of office if you did something
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like that and that's why the special prosecutor had to come up with other charges, abuse of power and obstruction of justice. he said they were laughable. he also did a good job of obscuring what public -- what republicans were saying, trying to bring a perjury charge against the president, lying to his staff about whether he had sex or not. he said this was laughable. what interesting now in today's context is what would chuck schumer say about articles of impeachment given that standard. >> hold onto that clip, because that could be really interesting if the house and senate proceeded with impeachment. now he would be on the other. i had the exact same feeling as i was watching. that would be a completely reversed argument if anything happened with president trump who, by the way, is involved in sex and lying. suspicious activities involving sex and lying. republicans attacked president clinton and went on to impeach him anyway. i considered it a big mistake at the time but they still did it. tom delay and the house were determined to do that. we will see that clip again if there are impeachment proceedings against president trump.
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>> well, the clintons have been part of our political conversation for a long time, and they have been part of senator schumer's life for a long time. and in fact, the junior senator from new york for a while, senator secretary first lady hillary clinton. here is senator schumer walking her down to be sworn in, january 3, 2001. was there any issue with him dealing with a high profile senator like her when he is the senior senator at this point? >> i think there was some concern he would be overshadowed, but they had different goals. i think that's probably what saved their relationship. schumer wanted to be a big player in the senate. he was never running for president. from the moment she got to the senate, she was going to be running for president. i think they did ok.
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worst relationships in in senate armed screen -- the senate are between same party senators from the same state. because there are competing for the same voters. but i think they were really able to work well together. 9/11 really brought them together, too. they did a lot of work on behalf of new york. that was something. i think if there ambitions had been similar, it would've been a disaster. but they worked ok. >> in 2018, schumer did an "no washington post" and said, the first year hillary was in office, it was tough. he admitted there was some rivalry. they are both type a personalities. it took them some time to work it out but they realized they were better working together than across purposes. and that is why schumer is an effective politician. he is a pragmatist. i'm sure his ego was under threat because hillary clinton
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was a bigger star at the time and she was eclipsing him. but he very quickly realized that, you know what, it is better if i put my ego in the rear and we work together. >> they did work together and they knew their stances on the issues. they almost had the great relationship of president and senate majority leader. i think that could have been fruitful for them cause they really did know how to work together. but, of course, that didn't happen. host: you both were covering the hill at that time. "the new york times" was basically a hometown newspaper for these two senators. would you rather have had an interview and a quote from hillary clinton or chuck schumer , as a reporter? >> i would rather have had a quote from hillary. she was a megastar when she came up on the hill on the first day. you couldn't even get close to her. she'd have an entourage. she was a massive star and i
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think people knew that she was potentially going to run for president down the road. we have seen other people come to the senate since then who have had that same wattage like elizabeth warren or mitt romney. youdiately they get there, know they are going to be a star. even barack obama to a certain sense, but hillary was the biggest during my time covering capitol hill. i would've gone for the hillary quote. >> there was something interesting about hillary clinton. she did something that has become a bit of a gimmick for senators with high profiles that come in. "well, we are not doing national press, we're only talking local issues that" and you see that from senators now. and i think for myself, and i did obviously, was a local paper for her in some ways. i did a lot of dealing with them. but for me chuck schumer was the , guy who would honestly tell me
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more about what was really going on. i have always had a heart am expecting this to people, and you mentioned barack obama and hillary clinton in the senate. they were stars on the outside. but they weren't stars on the inside. they weren't the people making things happen, greasing wheels. i kind of like dealing with those folks, because those trying to find out what the real deal was in the senate. i do remember that i had to track down senator clinton one day for a question related to her book. i think it was that her book had been censored. i had to track her down and she came out, i was waiting for her comanche goes, oh, carl, i thought you just dealt with the powerful people around here, or something to that effect. and i said, please give me a break. [laughter] but i found her great to deal
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with in the senate. you could get access to her and she would talk about what she was doing. host: did it help to be from the "new york times?" karl: totally. >> senator schumer is now senator schumer, no longer representative schumer. he beat senator al d'amato, longtime republican senator from new york. here he is from 2016. this is an interview c-span did for our documentary, "the senate, conflict and compromise." sen. schumer: it takes a while to get the rhythm of this place. as a different place. it is a unique institution. a lot of members of the house think, oh, it is just like the house, and it is not all. it is not like the house. someone once described the house as a barrel of crabs and when one finally gets his claw over the edge of the barrel, six
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others simultaneously reach up to pull him back. the senate is not like that. because it is smaller, more collegial, because it has these great traditions, you get along with people. the idea is to get along with people. the idea is to work well with your colleagues. and bipartisanship, at least in name, his treasured. -- is treasured. >> what do you hear? wax that sums up what chuck schumer is all about in the senate. what he's famous for his cutting deals in the house gym. one of his most famous tactics is telling the press what republicans really think based on the scuttlebutt he is hearing in the senate gym. he does have a good relationship with them. i think what of the things reading about him last night, becky talked about an anecdote -- he talked about an anecdote
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that to be respected in congress, you can't have a sense , you haveuperiority to understand where the other person is coming from. have a little do bit about moral superiority when they are talking about things like guns, poverty, climate. that turns people off. been good ater has not having that moral superiority. and this is also what made harry reid a good leader, he understands what you want and where you are coming from. i recall reading a quote from schumer that "the most important thing when negotiating with someone is to know what they want, not try to tell them what they should want." you have to respect where they are coming from. that is what he is a better deal maker in congress. what is interesting to me now,
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can he keep it up, though? we've talked about the democratic party shifting to the left. can he continue to be the dealmaker and the collegial chuck schumer he has always been cutting deals in the house, putting together reform legislation? past.days may be >> speaking to what you just said, they made a deal with mcconnell on judges during the august recess and let multiple judges through. that got him a lot of backlash from the left. they don't want that anymore and that is why you are seeing a fire that is brewing again over nominations and democratic delaying tactics. the anti-trump, anti-conservative judge faction said, you can make those deals. and they haven't been making them since. i think he is right, that all
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house members come to the senate and realize well, now i have some power, i probably shouldn't throw it away and get rid of the filibuster, and things like that. but in the senate, the saying is, "your enemy today is your friend tomorrow." it's different than the house. you have to be able to work with people. i don't know the chuck schumer still plays basketball anywhere. but he does hit the gym a lot. but he does cattle a lot on his republican fellows, his fellow gym rats. host: you both talked about the gym. let's hear it in chuck schumer's own words. sen. schumer: well, i started out in the senate gym. i made many friends in the senate gym including a whole lot of republicans. i learned the democrats exercise late in the day or the evening and republicans exercise early. so i'm there with six or seven republicans every morning including most of the
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leadership team, not leader mcconnell, but senator cornyn, senator alexander, senator thune. we have become friends. we have gotten things done in the gym on a bike. i like to watch their reaction when occasionally donald says something that is little bit off, and see their reaction. i don't say anything to them. >> i have never been in the senate gym, but it must be quite a scene in the morning. that's a little bit more old school washington. one of the big complaints about washington is nobody knows of the people on the other side, they never talk to the people on the other side, they don't go out to dinner, they are gone on the weekends. but here, schumer found one place where you can go and find out what his republican colleagues think. he and senator cornyn are good friends. they have traveled together with their wives.
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so he has found a way to get in there. and this is what alex said earlier, too. when you hear republicans talk for real about president trump, you wouldn't believe what they are saying. i don't know if they are saying that to him that much. >> a senator showed me the gym the other day, and it is cramped and it's not that nice. >> they showed it to you? they shouldn't have. [laughter] >> it's old. it's no equinox. gym.oks like an old ymca it smells like chlorine and the machines are all bunched together. >> that's how you make a deal. because you are close in proximity. >> the only person i saw working out at 7:00 at night was bob menendez of new jersey, so i guess democrats do work out in the evening.
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>> that is funny. another serious issue that we all went through together as a nation and here in washington was the iraq war, and of course 9/11. , here was senator schumer in october, 2002. senator schumer: in our post-9/11 world, there are no good choices, only less bad ones. as we move toward final passage, that choice before us is in this resolution, imperfect as it is, or none at all. saddam hussein in his pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and the will he has shown to use them makes the none at all unacceptable. so i will vote for this resolution. more than anything else we can do, this resolution will show saddam hussein and any naysayers in the united nations that we are serious about the war on terrorism. we understand the challenges of this brave new world, and we are prepared to meet them. host: again, that was 2002.
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considered that i was going to be a good political and policy decision. democrats are always worried about being portrayed as weak on national defense. this was a moment when many of them thought ok, we have to step up and support this war. what was interesting is that the people who didn't do that, including senator bob graham, who was chair of the intelligence committee, nancy pelosi, they did not support this. senator schumer thought he was making the right vote like a lot of other people and they really came to regret that vote. alex: yeah, the time the vote was cast, democrats, the smart democrats thought it was the politically smart thing to do.
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carl: barack obama, hillary clinton -- alex: well, barack obama wasn't in the senate then and he opposed the iraq war. it became a big issue. it was hillary's achilles' heel in 2008. she voted for the war resolution. so did john kerry, john edwards, joe biden, chris dodd. any democrat who thought they had to be strong on defense and had to vote for that war, it was the worst vote. i think if any of them were to tell you truthfully, the worst vote of their career. , if youthe issue here want to look at senator schumer as a politician, the criticism of schumer is that he sometimes leans too much toward political expediency. that he is someone, and -- he is pragmatic, but the other side of pragmatism can be being politically expedient. rather than principle. so here is what may be political
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experience took precedence over principal. but even members of his leadership team, like dick durbin voted no. ron wyden, senior democrat, voted no. robert byrd, one of the most conservative democrats voted no , and actually, he was very vocal and became a late career antiwar leader. because of that sort of march at the end of his career. arl: you have a great point about, if you are making these votes on a political basis of versus what you think is right, that it can really come back on you. host: but this was in 2002, less 9/11. year after could you be from new york and vote against some kind of response to 9/11? alex: schumer when he makes the
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vote, think she knew it was a dangerous vote. it was a 16-minute speech. i was very careful in how he presents the decision. he goes through all the points. he said this is the toughest vote anyone could take. he talks about terrorism. he talks about being in new york during 9/11 and how much it affected him. but that is giving credence to the argument that somehow iraq was tied up in al qaeda. and even at the time, democrats were debunking that argument. it may have had some political traction in a macro environment, national environment, but i do n't democrats ever truly believe that al qaeda was mixed up in iraq, even during that debate. what they were worried about was the 1990 gulf war. the democrats who voted against that ended up looking foolish because that war was very successful and they ended up looking like minis. i think they were scared of a reprise of that. >> i went back. i covered that vote and went
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back and read the story. i was curious how we treated it. we were very hairy in our coverage of the skepticism being put forward by democrats that the c.i.a. was not credible on this. that there was a lot of misinformation already coming out from the administration. but i think you make a good point. also, he and hillary clinton probably needed to align their votes, too. that would've been problematic for both of them, if you split from your fellow democratic new york senator. complicated vote, you never know how these things are going to play out. i am sure he wishes he had that one back. chuck schumer became the democratic senatorial campaign committee, i think you both referenced the fact that he was able to raise a lot of money. he was a little bit of him talking after the democrats take the senate in 2004. sen. schumer: first i want to
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thank you for your leadership. we are all in the democratic caucus excited about harry as our leader. he has already taken charge in so many different ways. just the most recent is this vanquishing of the debt. i think we are here to say that the dncc and democrats, we are back. and, we are excited. we are enthusiastic about the upcoming legislative session and our prospects in 2006. first, as harry mentioned, in record time, we vanquished the debt. it was $3.6 million was left to us. know, jon corzine and debbie stabenow did a good job and raised much more money than had ever been raised before by the dfcc and more than the rfcc raised, which was a record. we hope to continue in that
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tradition. host: alex moulton, that was early in 2005 after the democrats got the senate. .- alex bolton alex: well, democrats were still a minority, i think. they had 45 seats. they were well in the minority. and i think in 2006, there were more democrats up for reelection, or more democratic up for reelection and than republican seats. so when the republicans picked a majority, that was huge. host: that was 2006. alex: and then they picked up another nine eventually or another eight. to get to 59. and then obviously harry reid got alan spector to switch parties.
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that is the story there. it was such a huge upset. i remember in 2006, you could see there was going to be a wave in the house like we saw this year in 2018 -- there wasn't going to be a wave in the house like we saw this year in 2018, but the senate races broke late. it still wasn't known until election day. it came down to some really close races. schumer scored some coup in the recruiting bob casey in pennsylvania, a pro-life democrat, son of a pro-life had realc governor who cred in the state. it is in seem like such a surprising move in retrospect, but in hindsight, it was pretty smart that he went against his party by picking someone pro-life to run and when that
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in thato run and win state. also jim webb in virginia, that , was a race that gave them the senate majority. former navyeagan's secretary. again, a gutsy call by schumer. going with someone who is a challenge. that was a huge upset. people were talking about george allen running for president. and of course, the other thing that fueled their success, schumer raised a ton of money. he is probably one of the best fundraisers in washington. host: what makes them effective? he has a lot of contacts it in new york. >> that's a problem for some in the party that that's where he -- >> are you talking about wall street? that's where he gets a lot of money. >> i think his favorite job was head of the senatorial democratic campaign committee.
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he likes being a tactician in deciding, but even as other people have taken the job, he is still head of the senatorial democratic campaign committee. i think what you mentioned is interesting in the current context. rahm emanuel was part of that. they have conservative moderate centrex that were more acceptable to run in some of these places. montana, maybe they can find another candidate. but going and picking pro-life leading candidates, i don't know that you would be able to do that. >> why does wall street support senator schumer? cagey in been pretty
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terms of how hard to attack wall street. how hard to go after the special deal hedge fund guys. he understands this. that is not where all the money comes from but he definitely had contacts in the business realm because of where he is from. you need to understand what a hard worker he is. he is the herculean worker. streetations with wall and new york law firms. this goes back to 1982. he was elected in 1980, and in 1982 there was a democratic redistricting. new york lost five seats. he was a freshman.
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his feet were on the chopping block. he probably called everyone in new york. he was in the assembly and had contacts but he raised so much money that the democrats were like, we cannot cut his seat. we have to keep him in the house. fast-forward to 1998 when he ran against al d'amato. ,hen they pulled that primary at the end of 1997, geraldine for arrow, vice presidential candidate, mark green, the new york public advocate, they were all pulling well ahead of schumer. he was in third place. he did not have as big names as they did that he had out -- dramatically outraised to them.
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before the race even started he had $6 million in the bank. and green had something like $500,000. and for arrow was wondering if she even wanted to run. i think that sums up why he won. where hes cagey about is with wall street. earlier in his career, he was much more upfront about being supportive of wall street. separation --the the famous glass steel separation between commercial banks. earlier in my career on the hell i wrote a piece about how schumer, and this has caused friction between schumer and my paper. i wrote a piece about how on the banking committee, he, had fcc's -- had intervened with an fcc
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rulemaking -- sec rulemaking. arthur levittman said led to the collapse of enron. been inrule had not place, may be that collapse would not have happened. sure mode -- schumer was very upset at the time. and he called my editor in chief and really complaint. it is something he is sensitive about. the idea that he is cozy with wall street. need to be extremely accurate or you will hear about it from here. there was a time when he sold class rings in college because he wanted to go to the world series and needed a ticket. the guy can sell. people who have contributed to him have seen his pragmatism.
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this guy knows how to make a deal so let us keep our connection with him. >> let us look at some video from november 8, 2016. day to bework every deserving of your trust. i will never forget what it honorthat you gave me the of working with you. and tonight, there is another thing that could happen. there is a chance i could become the majority leader of the united states senate. [applause] [cheering] but i promise you if i get that opportunity, i will be working as hard as ever for new york. i love new york and it is in my bones. >> where were you that night? newsroom in new york a couple of blocks from there assessing what was happening. at that time, i had a pretty
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good idea that he was not going to be the senate majority leader. and you cannot underestimate what the expectation was at the time. republicans thought he was going to be the senate majority leader the day before. they thought russ feingold was going to win in miss -- in wisconsin. there was a lot of anticipation that he -- that hillary clinton was going to be president and he would be senate majority leader. i think he know, he was hedging his bets of their a little bit desk he was hedging his that a little bit. he was going to become the senate majority leader from new york and have all of this power and then have it yanked away from him. it was a real shock. but he is managing to use the power that he has. and in this election cycle, it could have been much worse for them. they had a lot of issues out
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there. they managed to win a couple of races that maybe they should not have -- arizona being one of them. where has himself set up they have a chance in 2020 to get the senate back. it will be tough for them but they are on offense, i would say. >> alex bolton, where were you that night? >> i was watching from home. we work in shifts. and the day of the election needs people up early and working. i did not go to bed. obviously come could not turn the tv off. what a surprise, what a shock. and in fact, i heard later from andpublican leader who did off the record happy hour with reporters a while back and he recalled his conversation with chuck schumer on election night. he called schumer said -- well,
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we think hillary can still win. it will be close but we think she can win. so, it was a big surprise. a storymember writing in october 2016 after the access hollywood tape came out. after rob portman pulled his , thesement and paul ryan house speaker, said he could not defend the president anymore. there was discussion and maybe this was in harry reid's office, we need to go big. we are thinking too small. after "access hollywood" we can 5, 6, 7,n the scale of eight seats. the mindset in washington when that tape came out was that donald trump was finished. at the time i was writing this article and not over and talking about the optimism or
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bullishness among some democrats, schumer was the voice of reason. throughout his career, he has been a very poll focused politician. he kept a laserlike focus on the polls. thoughtugh the pundits donald trump could win. he saw the polls and argued within democratic circles -- keep our resources on our top rate -- top priority races. i think he knew it was going to be a close one even though i think he thought hillary was going to win. back to the tactician that you say he was. >> he liked to pay attention to these races and considers himself the expert. later,uple of weeks senator schumer was elected that democratic leader in the senate. >> we had a great meeting and i am truly humbled and honored to
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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 up today which i will get into very soon. i came into this job fully aware of its challenges and what it means that my colleagues trust me to live up to a high standard justy my friend, mentor, my foxhole buddy, harry reid. harry reid is like an older brother timmy. his support and counsel are invaluable. and i speak for the entire caucus when i say that we are grateful for his leadership, his service, and his friendship. the i want to say to american people exactly what i just said to my caucus. i am goingo make -- to wake up every single day focused on how senate democrats can effectively fight for
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america's middle class and those struggling to join it. 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. bolton, i can see over chuck schumer is shoulder, the democratic whip, did urban. why was he not minority leader? >> the relationship between those two men is interesting. they were roommates for more than 10 years in washington in the house. but there was always a rivalry. they were two stars in the house. they came up to the senate around the same time. i think dick durbin was elected in 1996 and schumer, two years later. web durbin became the
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because harry reid asked him to as i recall. harry reid asked did durban to be his wit. but then schumer leapfrogged him. he alluded to right there, he became harry reid's closest confidant, and deputy, and advisor. and was almost the power behind the throne. i thought schumer was calling a lot of the shots at the end of harry reid's tenure. there was a lot of tension there. just like anyone who has a sibling, you know what it feels like to have -- to be leapfrogged by your brother or a friend. it hurts. it caused some bad feeling that on the other hand, durbin realized he was the. and part of the reason is because schumer is a better fundraiser and in politics
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today, fundraising is the currency of power. schumer brought democrats to the majority as dnc chairman. orhad so much currency status in the caucus because of that. and also as dnc chairman in 2006-2008 when they picked up selling bases. he recruited these guys. he had personal relationships with all of these guys that durbin did not have. the night that harry reid announced his retirement, durbin had a late night conversation to schumer on the senate floor saying -- you have earned the mantle. it is yours. inumer says he web to gratitude but immediately afterwards, there was a dispute about what actually happened in the conversation. durbin aid toward claiming that schumer said he would support
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durban to run for reelection as with but schumer denies the promise was ever made so it was a knock right thing. they could not even agree on whether schumer promised to back durban or not so it gets to the heart of the art word friend-rival relationship. in the few days when that announcement was coming up, i of hisr -- that was part plan. and he just thought that schumer was going to be a better leader. i think for the time then durbin was. thatw qualities in schumer he thought made him superior to succeed him. what is interesting about that remember, harry -- harry reid made a lot of decisions.
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and chuck schumer decided after the election he wanted elizabeth warren on the road -- on the leadership team. wanted bernie sanders on the leadership team. he expanded the leadership from beyond what senator reid had done and that has worked for him. he creates the illusion that he is consulting with his colleagues. whether that is what is really going on or he closes the door and make the decision with his staff is a different story. senator durbin and entered her schumer have made their peace. is happy and comfortable and the role he is in. roleurbin has taken on the -- he was one of the leaders in the judicial fights. chuck schumer was a big player
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in that over the years. there are a lot of stories about how crazy that living situation was. senatetor schumer in our documentary talked about what it is like to be a minority leader. sen. schumer: one of the jobs of the leader is to look after the members and to inform -- and to form those members into a cohesive group. is hard to get 40 or 50 people that are strong-willed, together. >> mr. schumer. sen. schumer: the senate floor is a very useful place to get a
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lot done. you are face to face with everyone. it is a great place to do business. when you have a fraction of accomplish it, it does not last as long. the senate by its rules and traditions pulls people together. he basically just confirmed what you both just said. the other half of this of asian is his relationship with mitch mcconnell. , about a yearell ago, introduced senator schumer at the mcconnell center at the university of louisville. we want to show you a little bit of that. >> in his memoir, chuck remembered his parents asking him not to run. they thought the life of a corporate lawyer would be respectable. [laughter] and more comfortable.
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but chuck, i have got to say that my life would have been a lot easier had you listened to your parents. [laughter] as majority and minority leaders, we're like the offense of an defensive coordinators. paterno can tell you, offensive coordinator is better. one of the most visible ways that chuck and i are seen together is every day when the senate floor opens for business. after the prayer and the pledge of allegiance come each of us have the opportunity to offer opening remarks detailing our views of 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. to have myrilled
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good friend the democratic leader of the senate here with me this morning. join me in welcoming, chuck schumer. a collegial introduction there. >> yes, i think chuck schumer takes great pride in the fact that he has broken through with senator mitch mcconnell and established a relationship which as schumer says coming he can get mcconnell to laugh at his jokes. a point of pride. considering the bitterness from the 2008 election and the vote against his wife is cabinet secretary, they seem to have patched aims up. it is tough in the senate right now. 2020e really moving into and the rhetoric is getting harsh. senator mcconnell is going to bring up a bill to try to embarrass the democrats. we will see if they can maintain
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this cordial relationship as the proceed. and mitch mcconnell has not been shy nor has senator schumer about taking shots at each other. they are not buddy buddy. they still go after each other. i remember when harry reid succeeded tom daschle and mcconnell succeeded the republican leader. they are both whips. they both know how to get things done. they are both pragmatic. years, how wrong that tradition turned out to be. job. such a partisan and it become such a partisan job. the senate is changing. political andmore
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partisan. part of it is the explosion in news. every little story gets magnified. it makes it much tougher to maintain a good relationship. that was surprisingly warm. i have not seen that clip before. there was genuine affection. but on the senate floor, i see genuine frustration. >> somehow, i think they have managed to put that aside when they are doing things like that. senator mcconnell is very proud of his center in louisville. daschle, thistom was a big change from bill frist . change from the days of howard baker and george mitchell and senator byrd
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working altogether. i agree with you. harder to is getting have these folks work together and have that kind of cordial relationship. duringchumer went out the shutdown and banged on mitch mcconnell for not doing enough to get this over with. notn't know how they can let that interfere in their personal relationship. i think i just saw a story of him trying to recruit amy mcgrath. a kind of thing going back to the fighter pilot that will irritate mitch mcconnell. >> there have been some stats in washington of recent. >> we protect terrorists. these are people looking to do harm. of whichorder security the wall is just a piece.
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check, did you want to say something? sen. schumer: we have a lot of disagreements here. we have a disagreement about the if butether it is affect we do not want to shut down the government. we want to come to an agreement. we have solutions that will pass the house and senate. >> if it is not good border
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security, i will not take it. if you look at these numbers of the effectiveness of our border security -- can i tell you something? chuck, ithave walls, is effective. that -- alexd, two new yorkers going after it. a two new yorkers going after parking place. he created a major gaffe. the president. he claimed credit for the shutdown. and the senate republican leadership had come up with talking points to label the shutdown which they knew was
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probably coming. schumer shutdown 2.0. the republicans had to rip up those talking points and throw them away because schumer outfoxed donald trump by getting under his skin. he is always used to dominating. >> what you saw there was what we were talking about. work schumer knows how to donald trump. they baited him. into saying that it is my shutdown. they went a week in the democrats could not get out of it fast enough.
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chuck schumer made the shutdown happened. he knew that and he did not want to do that again. the moment when he gets the president to say that he was going to take a mantle. now, i see schumer -- have gotten. i use adjusting that the bait was the plant -- preplanned? >> i don't know about that but they knew they were going to badger him about saying -- we need a good shutdown. i wrote a piece the next day saying this was a huge switch. it was a disaster for trump. it hurt them during the shutdown. >> absolutely. trump's-- donald numbers dropped noticeably. chuck schumer crushed donald trump on the shutdown. >> maybe that is why we did not
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see much of mitch mcconnell. >> he was just getting out of the way. rugh mcconnell had the pulled out from under him by donald trump. they had passed a bill in the senate. they had left town thinking the president had changed his mind and mitch mcconnell did not appreciate that whatsoever. current schumer is the minority leader in the senate. how do you view him? what is his legacy? his strengths? tohis legacy is too soon tell and i think he will be there for a while. he has his eye on history as does mitch mcconnell. as did harry reid. i think schumer is a leader in the same mode. he has not had his time in the spotlight yet. >> he has never been majority leader. >> they are down a few seats and
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i think the election will be tough. i think they made a mistake in the 2018 i think the kavanaugh hearing was a disaster for them. if you talk to claire mccaskill and joe donnelly, they thought the way that played out where the christie while and the way the democrats demonized kavanaugh, they thought that lost them their races. that could be pivotal. i guess the question is, how long do democrats wait in the minority before they expect leadership change? right now, it looks like he has a lock on it. i don't think we can assess his legacy until he reaches the pinnacle he wants which is top leader of the senate. >> to this think, he has been able to deliver democrats in the senate majority leader in the past. and i think that he is right.
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we need to see him as majority leader. i think it will be very difficult for him right now. because the policies being put forward by the ascendant part of the party are not policies that chuck schumer would necessarily want to get behind. medicaid for all. universal health insurance. chuck sherman -- chuck schumer is more of an incrementalist. big sweeping changes. big health care bill. big climate change bill. himselfnk he has shown to be an extremely powerful political operative. is time for him to show his policy operative part. behind thehe force
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2013 immigration reform bill. issue indifficult washington. it got 68 votes on the senate floor. 14 republicans voted. ryan would notul put it on the floor. otherwise, it probably would have passed. that could have in a major achievement for him that he was denied. it shows he can get major stuff done and he can put together a bipartisan coalition. a taste of what could be greatness or historic accomplishments in the future. >> i glad you brought that up. alex holton from the hill and carl is chief washington correspondent for the new york times. gentleman, thank you -- gentlemen, thank you. we want to close with chuck schumer's own words talking about the senate. sen. schumer: these days, our
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political debate has changed and it hurts the senate. fact-basedit being a debate, our political debate out there and in the presidential campaign, it is quick hit, the ative,otective -- vituper and not fact-based. new in greenwich and i got along. we started that style of debate in the 1980's. and it spread. now, with social media come it it has been perfected. orre is no fact checking anything else and i think it is bad for america. there used to be arbiters. nbc news. or the new york times. they had an editor. that is not true. we are not going to write it.
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that does not happen on the blogs. many things are written, much is believed and it hurts the reputation of the senate beyond what it deserves. the gridlock, that is deserved criticism. the fact that every's -- that every senator is a scoundrel -- that is not true doll. are over 100 new faces in the u.s. capitol after last year's elections including missouri senator josh hawley. he previously served to years as that state's attorney general. earlier in his career come he that doesa nonprofit legal advocacy for religious freedom issues and taught at the university of missouri law school. he is now the youngest member of the u.s. senate. she is also an
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attorney who worked on economic development and tribal issues. openly gay person to represent kansas and washington, d.c. and one of the first to native american women to be elected to congress along with cap holland. the second district of kansas elected steve watkins, a former u.s. army captain and military contractor who suffered both a traumatic brain injury and ptsd from his service in afghanistan. the congressman took up dogsled racing while stationed in alaska and participated in the iditarod twice. he also attempted to climb mount everest but six members of his team died in the nepal earthquake stopping the ascent. representative kevin hart joined congress ahead of other freshmen. last year, he succeeded his predecessor who resigned to become the nasa administrator. the congressman also has an interest in space.
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he was pursuing a phd in astronomical engineering when the challenger explosion changed his career plans. instead, he purchased a mac donald's restaurant that led to purchasing 18 warm it donald's in the tulsa area. representative kendra horn also has strong ties to the aerospace industry. he -- she is a former executive that advocates for the industry. earlier in her career, she was an assistant to brad carson. before her election to congress, the representative was a consultant for a communication company. new congress, new leaders, watch it all on c-span. on friday,p live george well talks about presidential authority and the role of congress in light of president trump's recent national emergency declaration. that is live at 12:20 p.m. eastern. later in the day, messages a
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senator and 2020 presidential candidate, elizabeth warren will speak at a democratic hearty dinner in new hampshire. on c-span2, politico is hosting conferencesolution with governors who are in washington for their winter meeting. that gets underway at 9:00 a.m. eastern. this weekend on american history tv, free speech and the rights of students. sunday morning, we take a look courtt the 1969 supreme -- with tinker versus moyne. mary beth tinker and her brother john talk about their experiences and take questions. at 8:00 a.m., american history tv will continue the discussion with mary beth and john tinker live on "washington journal."


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