(by Josiah Ryan, CNSNews.com) – Citing the popularity of Sen. Barack Obama and concern about the U.S economy, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), suggested to CNSNews.com that Democrats could win a 60-seat majority in the Senate and defeat current Republican Leader Mitch McConnell in next month’s election.
“The wind is more strongly at our back than ever,” Schumer said at a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday. “The message of economic change is just succeeding everywhere.
“Over the last few weeks you have seen a huge change in our direction as voters – who are deeply unhappy with Bush’s polices and with the Republican senators who backed them – are now focused on the economic turmoil,” he added.
Schumer also told CNSNews.com that the “odds” of capturing a veto-proof, filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats in the Senate “keep getting better.”
“I don’t know, but the odds keep getting better,” Schumer told CNSNews.com when asked if he thought Democrats would gain a supermajority in the Senate. “It’s too early to tell, but the odds are certainly better than they were two weeks ago, and they keep getting better.”
Schumer said he will not publicly predict winning 60 seats, but the thought of winning has crossed his mind.
“I don’t know, but when I say my prayers at night, maybe,” Schumer said in jest when a reporter asked him if he was revising his predictions of possible Democratic victories.
If Senate Democrats attain a 60-vote majority in the elections, certain parliamentarian devices, such as filibuster and objection, which are generally available to the minority party, could become nearly impossible for Republicans to employ.
With such a majority, Democrats would also be able to override presidential vetoes.
Schumer also told CNSNews.com that it is “fair to say” that the DSCC is focusing more of its funds on winning the senatorial race in Kentucky between Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Democratic nominee Bruce Lunsford.
“It’s an ‘even Steven’ race,” said Schumer. “We believe we can win in that state, and we are devoting our resources to that end. McConnell is part of the Washington establishment, and this election is about change.”
The Louisville-based newspaper Courier-Journal reported on Wednesday that McConnell’s lead had been cut to just one point, in part because of his support for the $700 billion financial bailout, which passed the Senate on Oct. 2.
Meanwhile, Republicans are maintaining a positive face about their prospects in the elections.
“Two seats to capture the Senate,” several ads on the official National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) site read.
Schumer said that the popularity of Obama and the fact that McCain is “unlikable” is helping Democratic campaigns.
“Obama appears more presidential,” said Schumer. “He [McCain] is not empathetic with people, and I respect what he has been through, but he is not the most likeable guy.”
The NRSC, which is led by Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.), did not return inquiries from CNSNews.com for comment as this story went to press.
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1. Who is Charles Schumer?
2. For what reasons does Mr. Schumer believe the Democrats could win a 60 seat majority in Congress?
3. Do an internet search for the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee) and the NRSC (National Republican Senatorial Committee) websites. What is the purpose of each committee?
4. Define supermajority. (Give definitions from at least 2 different dictionary sources.)
5. How will the Republicans in the Senate (and the White House if McCain wins) be affected if Senate Democrats win a supermajority?
6. Re-read paragraphs 15-16. Do you agree with Sen. Schumer’s assertion? Explain your answer.
Read about Senate races taking place in your state from the Republican perspective by visiting the NRSC website at nrsc.org/races.
Read about Senate races taking place in your state from the Democratic perspective by visiting the DSCC website at dscc.org/races.