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Rep. Lynn Woolsey called on former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming to resign Friday as co-chairman of President Barack Obama's fiscal commission after he compared the Social Security system to a "milk cow with 310 million tits."

The Petaluma Democrat said the comments show Simpson is "too biased" to lead the bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which Obama has tasked with finding ways to reduce the federal debt. It is expected to propose changes in Social Security when it issues its recommendations later this year, probably after the November election.

"Simpson portrays Social Security as some sort of welfare for the elderly who don't need or deserve it rather than a self-funded financial security program recipients paid into throughout their working lives," Woolsey said in a statement.

Simpson, a Republican, touched off the controversy on Monday when he sent an e-mail to Ashley Carson, executive director of the Older Women's League, responding to an anti-Simpson column she wrote in April, according to a report in the New York Times:

Citing Social Security's chief actuary to buttress the need for changes, Simpson wrote: "If you have some better suggestions about how to stabilize Social Security instead of just babbling into the vapors, let me know. 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!"

Simpson apologized for his comments Wednesday, but Woolsey said it wasn't enough.

"Simpson illustrates that he does not have an open mind about the program and doesn't understand it either," she said.

"Social Security should not even be on the table in deficit-reduction talks because it has not contributed a dime to that deficit, which has been caused largely by endless wars, reckless tax cuts and the recession," she said.

Woolsey said there are better ways to reduce the deficit, including forming a government-run health insurance plan to compete with private insurance companies. She has introduced legislation that would add the so-called "public option" into the health care bill.

-- Ted Appel

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