From NBC's Abby Livingston
In his mission to crush a GOP filibuster, DSCC Chairman Chuck Schumer feels the chance of 60 Democratic senators this cycle is "possible, but unlikely."
Briefing reporters this afternoon, the New York senator gave the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's outlook on the three outstanding Senate races: Minnesota, Alaska and Georgia.
With the race in Minnesota between Norm Coleman and Al Franken in a post-election dead heat, Schumer opened the news conference by directing his ire to the politics of the recount. Invoking a nightmare familiar to political journalists of cycles past, he said, "Minnesota is the one state where we really see the same kind of effort to intimidate." He added, "Democrats sort of let that happen in 2000 in Florida. We're not going let that happen again."
Proving that annoyance with the mainstream media can be bipartisan, Schumer also railed against the New York Post and the Wall Street Journal for "overheated rhetoric" and "fabricated" claims over the recount.
Schumer views the Georgia runoff between Saxby Chambliss and Jim Martin as part of the original DSCC plan. "We were able to hold an incumbent in a red state below 50% and get into a runoff, which was always our goal for the first round of balloting." He added that the DSCC is about to put up ads supporting Jim Martin. As for President-elect Obama stumping for the Georgia Democrat, Schumer played coy, saying, "You'll have to stay tuned. I'm not going roll out our strategy."
Because Mark Begich has taken the lead over incumbent Ted Stevens in the Alaska race, Schumer said that he's "cautiously optimistic" about the situation as it stands.
Schumer refused to address his future in party leadership, but did answer questions about whether or not his persona is helpful to his opposition. "I'd much rather they fire their arrows at me than our candidate," he chuckled.