**Written by Doug Powers
In early 2010, President Obama established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The NCFRR, in addition to being charged with finding an acronym for itself that was easier to remember, had the chore of producing “a bipartisan consensus to put America on the path toward fiscal reform and responsibility,” according to Obama at the time. The commission was headed by former Bill Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senate Whip Alan Simpson.
The commission offered its recommendations later that year. No matter what anybody thinks of their conclusions, you’d imagine all of it would be fair game for argument at any presidential debate. But a group of Democrats disagrees.
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.”
“We urge the [Debate] Commission to fight any effort to unnecessarily narrow such an important debate by placing disproportionate attention on one set of proposals over another,” they wrote, adding that such a question would “cheapen the debate” and “thwart the candidates’ ability to explain alternative proposals.”
Given the makeup of the moderators, perhaps they’ll be amenable to the request. Why distract debate viewers with petty things like deficit reduction when Romney and his running mate threaten to put America back in chains and push seniors off a cliff?
Or who knows — maybe those particular Dems would like to avoid any discussion of Obama’s deficit commission because they fear somebody will show the 2011 clip of Erskine Bowles referring to Paul Ryan as “honest, straight forward and sincere.” But those Dems can be fairly certain that won’t happen.
**Written by Doug Powers
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