Nearly three months ago, after Sen. Charles Schumer (NY-DEM) claimed that Democrats were making great progress with health care reform, Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart famously called him a “f*cking idiot.”
Today, Schumer might agree with that assessment.
“Sen. Chuck Schumer loves the sound of his own voice, but it carried a bit farther than he might have liked on the US Airways shuttle from New York to Washington on Sunday,” Politico’s Anne Schroeder Mullins reports.
Schumer was sitting next to protege Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, gabbing away on his phone, when a flight attendant told him to shut it down.
Schumer argued, and lost. He then muttered his complaint about the flight attendant to Gillibrand.
A Republican aide on the plane, who overheard the powerful Democrat, tattled to Politico.com.
Schumer spokesman Brian Fallon told Politico: “The senator made an off-the-cuff comment under his breath that he shouldn’t have made, and he regrets it.”
The RNC quickly attempted to capitalize on the situation by releasing the following statement: “It’s often said that the most dangerous place to be in Washington or New York is between Chuck Schumer and a TV camera. But it’s increasingly clear that a close second is when someone has the gall to ask the senator to follow the same rules that every other airline passenger must follow.”
TPM adds, “The National Republican Senatorial Committee jumped on the story, blasting out a press release that calls the episode an ‘air rage incident.’ The NRSC release also links to a Washington Post story from January, in which Schumer apparently had a commercial flight leave 15 minutes early so he could make a Senate vote. (For what it’s worth, the NRSC claims that left passengers stranded, but the Post reported that everyone got out on time.)”
Of course, Democrats don’t have a monopoly on untoward behavior on airplanes or uttering obscenities. Earlier this year, Republican Senator David Vitter caused a scene after setting off a security alarm on a plane, and former Vice President Dick Cheney told former Democratic Senator Tom Daschle to “f*ck himself” after an argument on the senate floor in 2004.
Conservatives will no doubt also try to make a big stink about the junior senator from New York saying nothing about the sexist comment uttered by her colleague.
In July, the National Organization for Women’s New York State chapter complained about a Daily News cartoon on Gillibrand which they perceived as misogynistic for using phallic imagery and suggesting the senator should be gagged.
In 2008, many women’s groups believed that both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin faced misogyny on the campaign trail from the media and the political establishment.