Brought to us today by Politico:
Some Democratic lawmakers want to make sure that one question does not get asked at the upcoming first presidential debate - about Simpson-Bowles.
Three Democratic House members objected Tuesday to a request by four senators that President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney be asked which of the commission’s proposals to address the debt they support. The Democrats said such a question would force “candidates to choose solutions from one menu of options.”
In the original letter, Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Joe Lieberman, (I-Conn.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) asked the debate commission to devote “specific and extensive attention to the question of how the candidates would get our nation’s fiscal house in order during the first debate dedicated to domestic policy.”
“Specifically, we request that you ask the presidential candidates which of the recommendations of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform they would adopt as part of their plan to reduce the deficit,” they wrote.
But that caused Reps. Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to cry foul, writing in their own letter to the debate commission on Tuesday that although the Simpson-Bowles commission’s plan “may contain proposals helpful to our recovery…to hold it out as the only pathway to fiscal responsibility and economic success is foolish and wrong.”
Of course! It's totally "foolish and wrong" to ask the presidential candidates about the deficit commission President Obama himself created... and then completely ignored.
Something tells me that Democrats' empty objections here have more to do with Obama's lack of ideas than the question's seeming limitations on his response. But to find out the real reason Obama's Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction plan was never implemented, let's go straight to the source -- Erskin Bowles, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton, says Obama never implemented the plan because he didn't have the stomach for it:
Here's the full transcript (via Hot Air):
I got a question here from…not one I particularly want to answer but I will. In your view, what was the primary reason why the deficit commission’s plan was not adopted. It’s a great question, I’ll just tell you the truth.
I didn’t know President Obama as well as I knew President Clinton. And one of the primary things in the business world which you learn is: know your client. And so I spent a lot of time with the President and his economic team trying to make sure we defined success. That was really important to me, I had to know what we had to do in order to get something done. And I had a very firm idea of that, and I can tell you the plan we came forward with not only met the criteria he outlined but it exceeded it in many different ways.
So I expected him, you know, to grab hold of it and say: “Wow – this is great!”. That’s what Clinton would have done. He would have said he made it up. And Al would have said he invented it.
But look, you know, I’ve got empirical data that my political antennae are not that great. And since that time the President has come out and said he likes our plan, he thinks it’s good and he’s for it. And hopefully we’ll end up at the right place that we’ll get at least $4 trillion of deficit reduction. And that’s really the key, you know, it’s not when you get it, or if we get it all at once. It’s…to get it. And what we got to do is bring these two parties together. We got to put the politics aside and we got to do what is right. And what is right is to put our fiscal house in order for these kids.
Whether or not it makes it into the debate, the answer to this question is clear: reducing our deficit is not a priority for the Obama administration.