When a Democrat and a Talking Point Love Each Other Very, Very Much

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 29 2011 2:28 PM

When a Democrat and a Talking Point Love Each Other Very, Very Much

Jennifer Steinhauer was there when Democratic senators started talking on a conference call before they were supposed to -- before realizing reporters could

After thanking his colleagues — Barbara Boxer of California, Ben Cardin of Maryland, Tom Carper of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut — for doing the budget bidding for the Senate Democrats, who are facing off against the House Republicans over how spending for the rest of the fiscal year, Mr. Schumer told them to portray John Boehner of Ohio, the Speaker of the House, as painted into a box by the Tea Party, and to decry the spending cuts that he wants as extreme. "I always use the word extreme," Mr. Schumer said, "That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week."

A minute or two into the talking-points tutorial, though, someone apparently figured out that reporters were listening, and silence fell.

Then the conference call began in earnest, with the Democrats right on message.

"We are urging Mr. Boehner to abandon the extreme right wing," said Ms. Boxer.

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I sort of can't believe that they used the word after knowing the reporters had heard them planning on using it. God help them if they ever try to rob banks.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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