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Schumer: & #8220;The Drilling Issue Has Peaked & #8221;

DENVER & ndash; Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) predicted Monday that & ldquo;the drilling issue has peaked, & rdquo; convinced that voters will not punish Democrats this November for the high price of gas.
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& ldquo;It has just been out there and as people think it through ... they just want to make sure [Congress] is trying everything, & rdquo; Schumer said during a roundtable discussion with Politico reporters and editors.

While gas prices soared past $4 per gallon on Memorial Day, they have retreated some in recent weeks.
Earlier this month, Democrats led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), unveiled a plan to allow for some increased domestic oil drilling, coupled with a rolling back of tax breaks for large oil companies.

Still, Schumer & rsquo;s comments are sure to cause a stir with Republicans, who have been staging protests on the House floor during the August recess, demanding Pelosi call the House back in session to vote on the issue of domestic drilling.

Early on, Schumer acknowledged, that Republicans had the upper hand on the energy debate but predicted the issue would not hurt Democratic candidates this November.

& ldquo;In a few states, the energy issue set us back a little bit, & rdquo; Schumer acknowledged, & ldquo;but I think we are back, & rdquo; Schumer said. & ldquo;Even though the presidential race has closed a little bit, we have not found our [Senate] races closing. & rdquo;

At first, Schumer allowed, congressional Democrats & rsquo; plan to address high gas prices was & ldquo;far too convoluted, & rdquo; but said the party has adjusted its strategy accordingly.

& ldquo;In Colorado, the state where [the drilling issue] had the most effect, there was a public poll that had [Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Mark] Udall up by 10, & rdquo; Schumer said.

But Schumer didn & rsquo;t stop at the battleground states, boasting that Democratic Senate contenders were & ldquo;closing & rdquo; in two Republican strongholds: Oklahoma and Georgia.

Schumer even said there is a & ldquo;possibility & rdquo; the DSCC would spend money in Oklahoma, where Democratic state Sen. Andrew Rice is facing an uphill battle to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Jim Inhofe.