Michele Bachmann's Social Security comments draw fire from Tarryl Clark, Maureen Reed

Another day, another rhetorical hand grenade from Michele Bachmann, another effort by her press office to explain what she actually meant to say.

This time, the District 6 congresswoman drew fire from her Democratic challengers for comments she made to the right-wing Constitutional Coalition in which she sounded awfully close to proposing an end to Social Security -- the proverbial third rail of American politics. It didn't help that she cited factually challenged statistics from performance artist Glenn Beck. Here's what Bachmann said:

"What we have to do is a reorganization of all of that, Social Security and all. We have to do it simply because we can't let the contract remain as they are because the older people are going to lose. So, what you have to do, is keep faith with the people that are already in the system, that don't have any other options, we have to keep faith with them. But basically what we have to do is wean everybody else off. And wean everybody off because we have to take those unfunded net liabilities off our bank sheet, we can't do it. So we just have to be straight with people. So basically, whoever our nominee is, is going to have to have a Glenn Beck chalkboard and explain to everybody this is the way it is."

It's a mouthful, to be sure. And once her words filtered out, Tarryl Clark and Maureen Reed, the two Democrats challenging her for reelection, pounced.

"What Congresswoman Bachmann is talking about, plain and simple, is bringing an end to Social Security and Medicare,'' Clark told MinnPost. "Michele Bachmann has decided to yank the proverbial retirement rug out from under her constituents.''

Reed's flakster, Jason Isaacson, said, "She purposely injects fear into public policy debates, attempting to paralyze the dialogue and prevent common-sense solutions."

DFL chair Brian Melendez told the Strib, "Representative Bachmann would like to kick senior citizens off of programs that they depend upon."

It's all a big misunderstanding, Bachmann flakster Dave Dziok told the Strib:

"When she used the world 'weaning' people off of Social Security and all that, what she said is she's weaning people off how it is in its current form and we've got to find other ways to administer these programs," Dziok said. "She's all for Social Security, all for Medicare and all that - so we don't want to see that go away."

But he also said that the idea of partially privatizing Social Security should not be ruled out as a solution for propping up the ailing program.

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