Schumer: Obama Will Rebound, Surprise Us

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., on "Face the Nation" Sunday, Nov. 14, 2010.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said today that he believes President Barack Obama will restore the American Dream for the middle class.

"He's going to surprise a lot of people with how strong he will be down the road, because I believe he will focus on the middle class like a laser," Schumer said on CBS' "Face the Nation."

Schumer suggested there was a disconnect between the Democrats' accomplishments and how they are perceived.

"Congress the last two years [has] been historic," he told host Bob Schieffer. "We've passed major pieces of legislation, four pieces that will go down in history as one of the most significant Congresses we've had. But two of them, the TARP (Troubled Asset Relief Program) - which was passed the previous Congress but it gets attributed to us - and the stimulus, prevented bad things from happening. There were about 10 million people probably who are working now who would not have been had we not passed those laws, but they don't know who they are.

"And then, two, health care and financial reform will benefit the middle class, but in the future. So the average middle class citizen with incomes declining, with unemployment high, said, 'Nothing is benefiting me now.'"

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"What would you say to the president about why Democrats did so poorly in this election, and how do you dig yourself out of this hole?" Schieffer asked.

"My advice is very simple. It would be the same to the President, to my colleagues in the Senate and House, to people of the other party: Focus on the middle class like a laser," Schumer said.

"No one in the middle class expects us to snap our fingers and everything will get better in two months. But if they feel we're focusing on them, and they feel that the American dream is alive - the American dream being the concept that you're likely to do better ten years from now than you're doing today, and your kids will certainly do better than you do … if they feel that's alive and well, our president will do very well.

"I think that's what he's goinged to do. He's going to surprise a lot of people with how strong he will be down the road because I believe he will focus on the middle class like a laser."

Schumer said he believes Democrats and Republicans can still work together despite the divide between the left and the right.

"Middle class incomes this decade are shrinking. … So the middle class is not content. They are up for grabs.

"This talk that some Democrats on the far left will huddle and say 'We won't do anything and do no compromises,' and some Republicans on the far right will huddle and say 'We won't make any compromises' - they'll lose if they do that.

"I think there are a number of areas where we can come together and benefit average families. I think we can on education. I think we can on immigration. I think we can on energy policy. [These are] major policies that affect this country where there are grounds for compromise.

"Any leader, any party, that just says 'We're going to block everything' as middle class incomes are declining is going to lose in 2012."