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Ex-Clinton staffer backs Bass

Last modified: 10/3/2012 12:00:00 AM
Former president Bill Clinton is stumping for Democrats in New Hampshire today as his former chief of staff endorses Republican Charlie Bass for Congress.

In full-page ads running in the Monitor, the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Nashua Telegraph, Erskine Bowles, who served as Clinton's chief of staff from 1996 to 1998, says Bass has 'the guts to ignore scare tactic and look at the substance of real solutions that will help get our great nation on track.'

The endorsement comes as a joint letter with former U.S. senator Alan Simpson, a Republican from Wyoming. In it, the men say that Bass, a Peterborough Republican, has 'put partisanship aside and stepped forward to make the tough decisions our nation needs.'

'He is a brave leader who deserves the thanks of everyone who really cares about our nation's future,' Bowles and Simpson wrote.

Bass is in a rematch of his 2010 election, in which he beat Annie Kuster, a Hopkinton Democrat, by about 3,500 votes.

In a statement released yesterday, the Kuster campaign criticized the votes Bass has cast that Simpson and Bowles praise.

'During his nearly 20 years in Washington, Congressman Bass has repeatedly voted to cut and undermine Medicare - including his votes for both the Simpson-Bowles and Ryan budget plans,' said Rob Friedlander, a Kuster spokesman. 'His consistent support for the Ryan budget that would end Medicare as we know it while giving new tax breaks to millionaires is an insult to New Hampshire families.'

President Obama appointed Simpson and Bowles in 2010 to lead the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, an 18-person, bipartisan commission charged with 'identifying policies to improve the fiscal situation in the medium term and to achieve fiscal sustainability over the long run,' according to the group's website.

It was meant to propose a way to balance the budget and reign in entitlement spending.

Simpson and Bowles praised Bass for his support of a budget, which did not pass Congress, that followed many of their recommendations.

'Charlie supported a plan that demonstrated it is possible to raise revenues for deficit reduction through pro-growth tax reforms that reduce tax rates for individuals and businesses,' they wrote. 'Likewise, it is possible to reform entitlement programs to make them fiscally sound for future generations, in a way that preserves and strengthens protections for seniors and the most vulnerable in society.'

(Molly A.K. Connors can be reached at 369-3319 or mconnors@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @MAKConnors.)


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