N.Y.'s Senior Senator Feeling The Heat From Jewish Constituency, White House


NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — President Barack Obama was scheduled to be in New York City on Tuesday night, attending a Democratic fundraiser on the Upper East Side.

He was also to tape an appearance on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.

The president was expected to answer more questions about the Iran nuclear deal.

The deal’s ratification could hinge on the vote of New York Sen. Chuck Schumer.

So what will he do if push comes to shove? CBS2’s Marcia Kramer attempted to find out.

Schumer is hardly a shrinking violet when it comes to speaking his mind about issues large and small — and he loves the spotlight. Sunday just isn’t Sunday without the Empire State’s senior senator holding court on some government or consumer issue.

But on the issue of the nuclear pact with Iran, which some say may be the most important foreign policy achievement of the Obama presidency, Schumer has been uncharacteristically mum. Aides say he’s taking his time on what may be the biggest and toughest decision of his career.

When Kramer asked what Schumer is going to do she was told he’s carefully reviewing constituent calls, meeting with experts on both sides of the issue, personally reviewing the pact, and seeking answers from the White House.

Schumer is being pulled in two directions. On one hand he is staunchly pro-Israel and has a large Jewish constituency. On the other he is in line to become the leader of the Democratic Caucus in 2016 and the White House wants him to muster the votes to prevent a veto override.

Late Tuesday he issued a statement saying, “Supporting or opposing this agreement is not a decision to be made lightly, and I plan to carefully study the agreement before making an informed decision.”

Schumer will also have to contend with the staunch opposition of the majority Republicans in the upper house, like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who earlier Tuesday compared President Obama to England’s Neville Chamberlain.

Chamberlain signed the Munich agreement with Hitler in 1938, which conceded Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland region to Germany.

“He’s the Neville Chamberlain of our time,” Graham said on CBS This Morning. “At the end of 15 years (Iran) can get a nuclear weapon with no strings attached. He thinks they’re going to change over the next 15 years for the better. Look at the last 1,000 years and you will get a good idea of what they’re going to do in the next 15 years.”

Schumer’s support is so critical that organizers of a “Stop Iran” rally on Wednesday night said they’re aiming their arguments at him, Kramer reported.

Speakers will include former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau and former Gov. George Pataki.

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