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Alan Simpson: AARP Harming Debt, Bound by Discounts and 'Erectile Dysfunction Ads'

Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) leaves the White House in Washington

WASHINGTON -- Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) told Bloomberg that one urgent step to addressing national fiscal policy is to "go give some kind of voodoo injection to the AARP, because they don't give a damn for people under 50."

"It's a great big group, about 39 million American bound together by airline discounts and RV discounts, from erectile dysfunction ads," said Simpson, 87. "There are still purposes to take care of people who were 50. That means they don't care about their grandchildren, and they were suppose to talk about the debt and the deficit."

"Well, they don't know the difference between the debt and deficit," he added. "...The debt is on automatic pilot. And they've handed it to our grandchildren. You can't make social system solvent. You can't do something with unsustainable course from healthcare. This is absolute madness."

The national debt is currently $21.8 trillion. Simpson and former Clinton White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles founded the bipartisan Campaign to Fix the Debt, with the political arm Fix the Debt Coalition. In September 2017, the coalition sounded the alarm on the "frightening" milestone of reaching $20 trillion.

Simpson and Bowles chaired President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and found many of their belt-tightening recommendations ignored by both the White House and congressional Republicans.

In 2010, Simpson wrote in an email, "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!"

The AARP blasted the comments as "offensive" and a "departure from reality."

Simpson later apologized, stressing he cares "deeply about strengthening Social Security" and noting that "over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two."

Simpson will be one of four eulogists Wednesday at the National Cathedral funeral of late President George H.W. Bush.

The three-term senator told Bloomberg he's now experiencing "a wave of emotions."

"And we knew it was coming. We all knew it was coming. In fact, it's like five years ago, they've called me and said, you know, he's having trouble. He'd like you to speak and so on. It was a great, great, great honor. But many said then put the harps back in the closet, remember that one?" Simpson said, recalling visiting Bush over the summer in Kennebunkport.

"Nobody has a degree of the 'country first,' that country George said, 'I nearly died for this country. I fought for this country. I didn't the side for Republicans. I didn't side for the Democrats. I fought for this country that I love,'" he added. "Whatever happened to that -- and that's a damn good question."