The Washington Post

Chuck Schumer endorses Hillary Clinton for president: ‘If you run, you’ll win’

Updated 10:40 a.m. Sunday

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday became the most senior Democratic lawmaker yet to call on Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president in 2016, calling her the best-prepared to "vanquish" tea party Republicans in the next election.


Sen. Charles E. Schumer  (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Election Day 2016 is still more than three years away, and Clinton isn't expected to make a final decision on whether to run for president until next year. But that didn't stop Schumer, the third-ranking Senate Democrat, from using a rare visit to Iowa to do some early campaigning on behalf of his former Senate colleague from New York. "I am urging Hillary Clinton to run for president, and when she does, she will have my full and unwavering support," he said Saturday evening during a keynote address to an Iowa Democratic Party fundraiser in Des Moines.

"Run, Hillary, Run," Schumer's prepared remarks said. "If you run, you’ll win, and we’ll all win."

Schumer went on to say: "With a strong platform and with Hillary leading the charge, we will vanquish the Ted Cruz, Tea Party Republicans in 2016 and create a generation of Democrats who will make sure the middle class gets what it needs, our country advances and the torch held by that beautiful lady in New York’s harbor burns more brightly than ever."

Aides to Schumer alerted reporters to his intentions ahead of the speech and provided excerpts of his prepared remarks. Just before he gave the address, Schumer also made his intentions known via Twitter:

Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said Sunday that Schumer's endorsement was "very flattering," but that Clinton has not decided whether to run for president.

"Senator Schumer is an old colleague and an even older friend, and what he said about her is very flattering," Merrill said. "Ultimately though this is a very personal decision that she hasn't made."

The early endorsement could cause political trouble for Schumer if Clinton backs out of a campaign or ever falls behind another, as-yet unknown Democratic challenger. But the announcement appeared designed in part to begin consolidating Democratic support behind Clinton. And it will be seen as another setback for Vice President Biden, another of Schumer's former Senate colleagues who has not yet ruled out running for president, and who recently phoned a newly-elected Democratic state senator in Iowa to congratulate him on winning a special election.

A new book about the 2012 presidential campaign set for release this week recounts how some top advisers to President Obama contemplated replacing Biden on the 2012 ticket with Clinton and how Biden tried to arrange meetings with Silicon Valley heavyweights last year in hopes of securing their financial support for a future campaign.

Schumer is by no means the first Democratic lawmaker to formally endorse and encourage Clinton's campaign. News reports last week revealed that all of the female Democratic senators signed a secret letter to Clinton earlier this year encouraging her to run and that several of them -- including Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.) and Barbara Boxer (Calif.) -- regularly tout her potential campaign.

As New York's senior senator, Schumer backed Clinton's 2008 bid for president when she was still serving as the junior senator from New York. On Saturday night, Schumer said that in 2008 "the time was right for Barack Obama" but then added that "2016 is Hillary's time."

Philip Rucker contributed this story.

Follow Ed O'Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
Quoted
We'll have half a million voters in South Carolina. I can shake a lot of hands, but I can't shake that many.
Sen. Marco Rubio, speaking to a group of reporters about his strategy to regain support after a poor performance in the last debate
Fact Checker
Sanders’s claim that Clinton objected to meeting with ‘our enemies’
Sanders said that Clinton was critical of Obama in 2008 for suggesting meeting with Iran. In fact, Clinton and Obama differed over whether to set preconditions, not about meeting with enemies. Once in office, Obama followed the course suggested by Clinton, abandoning an earlier position as unrealistic.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands
Most Read

politics

post-politics

Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.