Schumer to Fellow Dems: Call Republicans 'Extreme'

Oops, reporters were listening in on the conference call
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 29, 2011 6:36 PM CDT

(Newser) – Chuck Schumer's mini-gaffe on a conference call today is still bouncing around the political blogs. It began when Schumer—unaware reporters were on the line—gave talking points to Democrats about how to characterize Republicans in the budget fight: “I always use the word extreme,” he said, as quoted by the New York Times. “That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week.” He soon went silent, apparently realizing reporters were listening, and the real call started: "We are urging Mr. Boehner to abandon the extreme right wing," said Barbara Boxer, on message.

Some reaction:

  • Mitch McConnell: "That's really not helpful, if we're trying to reach an agreement here," he said, as per the Hill.
  • Schumer's spokesman: "There's nothing wrong with reporters overhearing him calling the House Republicans' extreme because that's what it is. He had just given a speech on the Senate floor saying the same thing. The sooner Speaker Boehner abandons the Tea Party's extreme demands, the sooner there can be a bipartisan deal on the budget."
  • Allahpundit, Hot Air: "Even now, after more than two years of heavy breathing from liberal media about how extremely extremist those extreme tea partiers are, the Democratic brain trust still needs a heads up on how properly to smear budget-cutting conservatives."
Click to read one view that this is being overblown and that Democrats won't suffer much fallout. (Read more Charles Schumer stories.)

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