Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) last week cracked a joke at his own expense, though it didn’t generate the laughs he thought it would.

During a Finance Committee hearing on the nomination of Jenni LeCompte, Schumer went out of his way to praise his former staffer and recommend her approval as assistant secretary of the Treasury Department. 

Days before, Schumer provided fodder to late-night talk-show hosts when he was caught coaching fellow Democrats on how he liked to describe the Republican agenda as “extreme.”

Schumer, who is fond of the word, employed it again during the hearing.

“Allow me to [introduce] a good friend of mine, a former employee and someone of extreme competence,” Schumer told the committee. 


“That was a joke.”


“I hope not,” piped up Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), appearing not to get it.

Making it extremely awkward, Schumer had to explain, “The ‘extreme’ part, you know, was.” 

The veteran New York lawmaker then switched gears, announcing, “I liked [LeCompte’s] maiden name better, Engebretsen. Took me a little while to say it right.

“Jenni Engebretsen — all E’s, by the way,” Schumer added, then spelling her name, just to make sure everyone got it.