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Simpson: Bowles wouldn’t take Treasury Secretary in this ‘dysfunctional government’


Former Senator Alan Simpson counted his co-Chair in the President’s Debt Commission, former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, out of President Obama’s next cabinet and sounded off anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist Wednesday on Andrea Mitchell Reports.

“Six months ago, Erskine was saying I think we can get there,” Simpson told Andrea Mitchell about efforts to reach a “grand bargain” on the fiscal cliff. “Now, he’s pessimistic.”

Mitchell reported that Bowles’ name has been in the mix for filling Tim Geithner’s role as Treasury Secretary. Asked if Bowles would want to be considered, Simpson said, “He said he would be very pleased to do that… as long as they move the treasury department to North Carolina.” Simpson said Bowles could not be persuaded to reconsider “because he wouldn’t want to serve in a dysfunctional government.”

Though Democrats and Republicans are at an impasse in fiscal talks, Republicans in recent days have signaled flexibility on raising revenue—an issue that all but 13 Republican Congressmen have pledged never to support through a signed agreement with anti-tax lobbyist Grover Norquist.

“Anybody who would sign anything before they come to congress and hear the debate and participate in it [and] get into the floor… I mean, why would you do that? it’s like selling your soul,” Simpson told Andrea Mitchell Wednesday.

Simpson called Norquist a “zealot” who would be irrelevant within a year and a half.

“Grover is losing a person a day and he knows it,” Simpson said. “So what does he use to cover that? Cutesies. Little smart-alecs… He is becoming irrelevant, and you can see it in his eyes. He knows the game is up because good people of good faith have decided that instead of being Republicans, or Democrats, they’re Americans. and instead of being beholden to Grover Norquist and the AARP, they’re beholden to the United States of America.”


Simpson: Bowles wouldn't take Treasury Secretary in this 'dysfunctional government'