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Social Security: Alan Simpson offends almost everyone with 'cow' quip

Social Security is a touchy subject. Alan Simpson, co-chair of Obama's deficit commission, has a colorful mouth and lots of things to say about Social Security. Put the two together and 'poof!' another political brush fire for Obama.

By Staff writer / August 25, 2010

National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform co-chairs Alan Simpson (l.) and Erskine Bowles (r.) speak at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington last month. Simpson compared Social Security to a 'milk cow' recently.

Larry Downing/Reuters

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Sen. Alan Simpson (R) of Wyoming has a reputation as one of the funniest men in the US Senate of recent years. He was usually among those politicians former President Reagan gathered at the White House for libations and storytelling when Nancy Reagan was out of town.

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But Wednesday, a quip made by the man who is now a co-chair of President Obama's bipartisan deficit commission was no laughing matter – at least to liberal activists and bloggers now calling for his head.

In an e-mail this week to Ashley Carson, executive director of the National Older Women's League (OWL), Simpson compared Social Security to "a milk cow with 310 million [teats]!" Only he didn't say "teats" but something similar, and shall we say, a bit more colorful and perhaps derogatory. And he concluded by telling Ms. Carson to "call when you get honest work!"

Ouch! In a few words, Simpson managed to infuriate feminists, Social Security recipients, and liberal Democrats (a group already none too happy with the Obama administration).

Who he offended: the list

"This demeaning attitude toward Social Security is consistent with factually incorrect statements made by Senator Simpson in the past which show a complete misunderstanding of the true financial condition of Social Security," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) of Vermont and Rep. Peter DeFazio (D) or Oregon wrote to President Obama Wednesday. (They might have noted that Simpson once referred to Social Security recipients as "greedy geezers.")

"In order for your commission's recommendations to have credibility with Congress," the two liberal lawmakers wrote, "we respectfully urge you to remove Senator Simpson from the commission."

National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill said "Simpson's rant is a nasty reminder of how ageist and sexist some of our leaders still are." (NOW is asking members and supporters to send $5 for the organization to send baby bottle nipples to the White House as part of its campaign to oust Simpson.)

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