Mr. Schumer, however, said that although he had discussed Mrs. Clinton’s impact at the top of the ticket with his potential recruits and Senate candidates, they were more interested in the particulars of their own races.
About the impact of House Ways and Means chair Charlie Rangel’s recent declaration of intent to enact a $1 trillion “mother of all tax reforms,” Mr. Schumer seemed slightly less sanguine.
“I’m not going to comment,” said Mr. Schumer, explaining that he was yet to read the legislation that has been savaged by Republicans as the sort of tax hikes Democratic candidates would inflict on Americans.
Mr. Schumer, who wrote a book detailing what he believed the be the bread-and-butter issues on which middle-class swing voters actually vote, believes firmly that the election will be decided at the margins on core domestic issues like taxes, health care, education and energy costs. On the question of Iraq, he said that it provided a stark choice that many voters had already made.
“Most people will assume that the Democratic nominee will get us out of Iraq,” he said. “The Republican won’t.”
(Mr. Schumer’s own position is that the best option remaining for Iraq is to break into three autonomous regions and that the American troop presence should be reduced by more than half, leaving a force whose mission is limited to counterterrorism and intervening to prevent mass murders.)
And what of his fellow New Yorker, Rudolph Giuliani, whose Republican primary strategy is based on the notion that he’d be the party’s best performer in a general election?
Mr. Schumer thinks he’s simply too frightening.
“The idea of a campaign that just scares people, ‘We’re going to be attacked and I am the only one that can save you,’ is a very unappealing campaign,” said Mr. Schumer.
He added, “When Rudy Giuliani says that he is going to pick [Supreme Court] justices like [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito, I think it is very scary and it’s going to be politically harmful to him.”
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