White House race dominates Senate debate
Schumer and Long also trade barbs about Wall Street connections
SCHENECTADY >> The two candidates in this fall’s U.S. Senate race in New York held their only scheduled debate Sunday at Union College, with much of the focus on the presidential campaign and U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer’s Wall Street ties.
Democrat Schumer said he was “appalled” by the FBI reopening an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails so close to the Nov. 8 election, while GOP challenger Wendy Long said Schumer has gotten millions in campaign money from “too-big-to-fail” Wall Street firms such as Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
“I think, actually, a good nickname for him would be the senator from ‘The Big Short,’ “she said, referring to the Michael Lewis book and movie about the 2008 financial meltdown.
In most recent Federal Elections Commissions filings, Long reported she has just $143,283 in campaign on hand and owes $322,080. In July, Schumer reported having raised $27.5 million.
Schumer said he opposed Wall Street moguls when their actions hurt the middle class and said the financial sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs in New York. “There’s a whole lotta people on Wall Street not happy with Chuck Schumer,” he declared.
Schumer called GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “appalling” and said “he’s just not fit to be president given his actions.”
That prompted Long to say Trump’s vulgar comments were no worse than the racist and misogynist jokes told by Amy Schumer, the celebrity who is a cousin of the senator’s. Long also brought up the 2009 incident in which Schumer called a flight attendant a “bitch” for asking him to turn off his cellphone so the plane could take off.
“When we talk about vulgar language or saying dif-
ferent things to women, Donald Trump apologized for use of that language, just as Sen. Schumer apologized for the very bad language that he used to that very nice airline flight attendant who was just trying to do her job and telling him to turn off his cellphone,” she said.
Long said Trump’s Democratic critics were hypocrites. “If we just listen to the Howard Stern show and what, for example, Amy Schumer talks about on the Howard Stern show or some of her stand-up routines with the racism and the misogyny.”
Long also pointed to Hillary Clinton’s campaigning with rapper JayZ, mentioning his sexually explicit and violent song “H.A.M.”
“Neither Amy Schumer or Jay-Z or Howard Stern is running for president,” Schumer shot back. “I don’t think most Americans would think they’d make [a] good president either.”
The two also clashed over the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that permitted corporations to spend huge amounts of money on political campaigns. Schumer said First Amendment free-speech protections should not extend to businesses.
In keeping with the under-the-radar strategy of Schumer’s campaign, the
debate was aired live at the same time as the fifth game of the World Series and was only viewable by Time Warner Cable subscribers in parts of upstate New York and New York City.
Schumer, who turns 66 in November, is seeking his fourth six-year term in the U.S. Senate, where he is in position to become the next majority leader if Democrats gain control of the upper house of Congress.
Long, 56, is a trial lawyer in New York City and is a former law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. She ran against U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in 2012, getting just 22 percent of the vote, the most lopsided defeat ever for a candidate
for statewide office in New York.
Schumer is a graduate of both Harvard University and Harvard Law School. He has never practiced law and has held elected office since the age of 23, when he ran for Assembly in his Brooklyn district. He later served for years in the House of Representatives and, in 1998, unseated incumbent U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, R-N.Y., after winning a Democratic primary by beating political trailblazer Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman vice presidential candidate of a major party.
Long is a Dartmouth College graduate who attended law school at Northwestern University and also studied at Harvard Law School.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, left, and Republican challenger Wendy Long debate at Union College in Schenectady on Sunday.