The Slatest

Schumer Takes Aim at Clinton: Don’t Blame Russia or Comey, “Blame Yourself”

Hillary Clinton is hugged by Sen. Chuck Schumer after he testified for her during her confirmation hearing for secretary of state on Capitol Hill on Jan. 13, 2009.

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a thinly veiled message to Hillary Clinton, saying that “you blame yourself” if you “lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity.” Schumer never explicitly mentioned Clinton, but there was little doubt who he was talking about while discussing the broad effort by the Democratic Party to come up with a new messaging strategy ahead of next year’s midterm elections.

“When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia—you blame yourself,” Schumer said in an interview with the Washington Post. “So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.” A recent poll found that 52 percent of Americans think the Democratic Party “just stands against Trump” while only 37 percent think it actually “stands for something.”

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Clinton has taken responsibility for her loss, although she has also mentioned a variety of factors that contributed to the results in November, including the decision by then-FBI chief James Comey to reopen the investigation into her emails near the end of the campaign. She has also mentioned Russia’s well-reported efforts to affect the outcome of the election.

Schumer spoke to the Post ahead of the unveiling of the new Democratic Party economic platform on Monday that has been dubbed “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the new plan “is not a course correction, but it’s a presentation correction.” That has led to concern from outside the Beltway that Democrats don’t think they actually need to change policies, only how they are presented to voters. “Republicans talk in headlines; Democrats speak in fine print,” explained Rep. Hakeem Jeffries from New York. “That ends this week. We’re going to make sure that we’re able to reach the American people in a clear and compelling fashion.”

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So what will the plan entail? Democrats are keeping their cards close to their chest for now but Schumer said on ABC’s This Week that the goal is to appeal to both the Obama coalition and the voters that abandoned the party in favor of Trump. “Week after week, month after month, we’re going to roll out specific pieces here, that are quite different than the Democratic Party you heard in the past,” Schumer said. “We were too cautious. We were too namby-pamby.”

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