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Schumer on Socialist vs. Democrat: 'It Depends How You Define Each One'

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Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wasn’t up for Chris Matthews’ idea to change the name of the Democratic Party to the “Social Democratic Party,” to reflect socialist views.

Schumer was asked on MSNBC about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) strong polling against Hillary Clinton, but insisted “you can’t make much of it.”

“Numbers have gone up and down for each candidate. I think Hillary’s going to be the nominee,” Schumer said. “I have very little doubt about that. She’s running a good, strong, long-distance race. She’s putting all the fundamentals in place that will help her win not only the primary, but the general election.”

“So, those of us who are Hillary supporters have confidence in her and are not at all rattled by any of these polls.”

The latest Quinnipiac poll puts self-proclaimed socialist Sanders 5 points ahead of Clinton in Iowa and an ARG poll has him 3 points up, while the Clinton camp is pointing to a Public Policy Polling survey that has her leading by 6 points in the state. The latest Monmouth poll has Sanders leading by 14 points in New Hampshire.

“What’s the difference between a socialist and a Democrat?” Matthews asked.

“Oh, it depends how you define each one, doesn’t it?” Schumer replied.

“Well, you do it,” Matthews shot back, noting that DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) won’t answer that question.

“Well, I’m not going to get into it,” Schumer said.

“You guys are well schooled in political polemics and language and nomenclature. You’re quite capable of defining the difference between a socialist, self-described and a Democrat self- described. What is it?” Matthews continued.

“I have nothing bad to say about Bernie Sanders. I think Bernie is the real deal,” Schumer responded. “He’s been talking this way since the day he’s got to the Senate. This is not a contrivance, he believes in what he does. He’s a constructive person.”

“But I think Hillary is going to beat him in the primaries, and she’ll be the nominee, and my guess is Bernie will be supporting her in the general election.”

“Would it be helpful to change the name of the Democratic Party to the ‘Social Democratic Party’? Would that help improve the definitions for everybody?” asked Matthews.

Schumer: “I think we’re happy with our present name.”