Simpson's 'cow' comment draws ire

Aug. 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 (UPI) -- Lawmakers and activists called for the ouster of Republican Alan Simpson as deficit commission co-chairman for an e-mail he sent to a women's group leader.

The former U.S. senator from Wyoming sent the missive to National Older Women's League Executive Director Ashley Carson, criticizing her recent column defending Social Security and comparing the program to hundreds of millions of people bellying up to a milk cow for a drink, The Hill reported Thursday.

"I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree," Simpson wrote to Carson. "We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!"

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., were among several lawmakers who wrote to President Barack Obama, calling on him to remove Simpson, who favors cutting Social Security.

"Despite the many years of distinguished public service former Senator Simpson has dedicated to this country, his recent e-mail indicates that it is no longer appropriate for him to serve on the bipartisan deficit reduction commission," Saunders and DeFazio wrote. "Therefore, in order for your commission's recommendations to have credibility with Congress, we respectfully urge you to remove Sen. Simpson from the commission."

The fiscal commission, expected to announce its recommendations for reducing the growth of the federal deficit in December, is under scrutiny from lawmakers worried the panel will propose either drastic spending cuts or tax increases to reduce the nation's growing debt.

Simpson sent an apology to Carson Wednesday, saying, "I can see that my remarks have caused you anguish, and that was not my intention. ... I know you care deeply about strengthening Social Security, and so do I, just as deeply."

National Organization for Women President Terry O'Neill called Simpson's comments "a nasty reminder of how ageist and sexist some of our leaders still are," The Christian Science Monitor reported.

While not condoning his comments, a spokesman for Obama said the administration said Simpson's apology has been accepted and he would remain as co-chairman.

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