The Best of Co-Chairmen Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles

The heads of the deficit commission -- one from Wyoming and one from North Carolina -- have been out of Washington for a long time and that means that they are straight talkers. But not only do they tell it like it is, they have quite a flair for words. Here are a few of their more amusing or unusual quotes. 



    Alan Simpson, left, and Erskine Bowles, right, are the chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Simpson, a Republican, is a former U.S. senator from Wyoming, and Bowles, a Democrat, was President Bill Clinton's White House chief of staff. Click through to see some of their most memorable quotes. 


    "I guess you don't understand. We didn't care if we got two holes. It was going to be the first time in our lives, where there wasn't going to be some goofy whitewash where everybody was covering the fanny and decided to do something. You've got three guys on this commission from the House. One of them is going to be chairman of the Ways and Means, one will be chairman of the Budget. The other is the third ranking member in the House and this wonderful chap, Paul Ryan will but about 85 percent of this in the budget in the House. If that ain't progress, then I'm on the moon," Simpson told CNN during an interview on Dec. 1. 


    In an e-mail to National Older Women's League Director Ashley Carson, Simpson wrote, "And yes, I've made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know 'em too. It's the same with any system in America. We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!" In June, he also told a Social Security Works activist outside of a meeting of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, "We're trying to take care of the lesser people in society like we always have in this country and do that in a way without getting into all the flash words that you love to dig up, like cutting Social Security, which is bull---t.. We're not cutting anything. ...We're trying to make it solvent."  


    "It will never collect dust. That's the one thing I can guarantee you. You know, the era of deficit and denial is over. The American people are aware of the fact that this deficit is like a cancer. It's going to destroy our country from within, and I am positive they are not going to let the elected people put this on any dust pan.," Bowles said on Dec. 1 in an interview with CNN.  During an interview with Fox News the same day, Simpson said: "How do you get to be the head of a union in America unless you slash at the fact that the working guy is going to be picking crap with chickens?" 


    "A lot of blood, hair and eyeballs have to lay on the floor before we finish. There's going to be anguishing. This is a suicide mission," Simpson is quoted saying during a Feb. 22 interview with CNBC. 


    "Al and I are not going to wimp out. For us it's go big or go home. We're not interested in 14 votes for a whitewash," Bowles said regarding recent deficit meetings. 


    "You can't have your cake and eat it too," quipped Bowles to reporters after his proposal to cut nearly $4 trillion from the federal budget was criticized by Pentagon leaders. He later predicted that the panel would probably be able to reach a middle ground by finding out, "what they really want and what they really, really don't like, and then what is that area they don't really care about. That way you have a chance to find the middle ground and you're going to be surprised there is a common ground there." 

    Deficit Meeting

    "I dropped by a (Republican) caucus once and all they were doing was trying to figure out how to diddle Bill Clinton," Simpson told U.S. News & World Report during an interview in February.  He also told the Casper Star-Tribune, "We had the greatest generation -- I think this is the greediest generation," in late November. 


    "We wouldn't be where we are without Tom Coburn. He's been great. I can't believe the caricature that's been made of him. This guy is a responsible leader. And he's right. I can tell you that. It is a step in the right direction, but we're not at the end of a rainbow," Bowles told Fox News during an interview on Dec. 1. 
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