Schumer: '2016 is Hillary’s time'

Greg Nash

The Senate’s No. 3 Democrat Charles Schumer (N.Y.) endorsed Hillary Clinton for president on Saturday as he urged her to make another run for the White House.

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Schumer announced his endorsement at the Iowa Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner Saturday, declaring his “full and unwavering support” for the former secretary of State and New York senator three years before the 2016 election.

“Run, Hillary, run. If you run, you’ll win, and we’ll all win,” Schumer said, according to excerpts of his speech released by his office.

“2016 is Hillary’s time. And our nation will be all the better for it,” he said. “With a strong platform and with Hillary leading the charge, we will vanquish the Ted Cruz, Tea Party Republicans in 2016 and create a generation of Democrats who will make sure the middle class gets what it needs, our country advances and the torch held by that beautiful lady in New York’s harbor burns more brightly than ever.”

Schumer is the most senior Democrat to officially back Clinton for president, well before she makes a decision on whether she will in fact run.

The endorsement highlights Democratic attempts to coalesce support around Clinton, considered to be the clear frontrunner in the Democratic primary if she does run.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) hinted this past week that she would endorse Clinton if she runs, and all of the Senate’s Democratic women — including several who have been discussed as possible 2016 candidates if Clinton opts out — reportedly wrote a letter throwing their support behind Clinton as well.

The show of force from Schumer and other congressional Democrats is a blow to Vice President Biden, who is also said to have 2016 ambitions.

Clinton said she is still wrestling with whether to run in a September interview with New York magazine.

“I do,” Clinton said, “but I’m both pragmatic and realistic. I think I have a pretty good idea of the political and governmental challenges that are facing our leaders, and I’ll do whatever I can from whatever position I find myself in to advocate for the values and the policies I think are right for the country. I will just continue to weigh what the factors are that would influence me making a decision one way or the other.”

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In his speech Saturday night in Iowa, which holds the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses, Schumer said that 2008 had been President Obama’s time, when he defeated Clinton in a hard-fought primary. Schumer, Clinton’s fellow New York senator, endorsed Clinton in the primary.

“Suffice to say, in 2008, the time was right for Barack Obama,” Schumer said. “He has successfully navigated this country through some choppy waters, and he will continue to do so for the next three years.”

Schumer laid out what he thinks is the best strategy for Democrats going forward, arguing that the Tea Party has successfully tapped into the public’s anger — and Democrats need to do the same.

“Here is the main point where Democrats have failed: We have failed to tap into and to constructively direct the anger and angst in America,” Schumer said.

“We know people are tired and frustrated and angry. The Tea Party’s emergence and strength stems from this anger and if we don’t rechannel that anger into constructive and effect solutions, America will be a different, more sour, less successful place for a generation,” he said.

Schumer argued, however, that a Republican Party dominated by Tea Party conservatives would lead to a Democratic rout in 2016.

“If the Tea Party continues to keep its grip on the Republican Party, I think we can safely predict that they will lose the election dramatically in 2016 just as they lost the election of 2012,” Schumer said.