Former Sen. Alan Simpson: Grover Norquist Is ‘Most Powerful Man in America’

Melanie Arter | May 21, 2012 | 12:48pm EDT
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Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and Erskine Bowles, co-chairmen of the president's fiscal commission, at the National Press Clun in Washington, D.C. (AP photo)

( Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), who served as co-chair of President Barack Obama’s deficit commission, said last week that Grover Norquist, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, is the most powerful man in America.

Speaking on a panel discussion at the Peter G. Peterson Foundation’s third annual “2012 Fiscal Summit: America’s Case for Action,” Simpson said, “Grover Norquist is one smart cookie, but he’s the most powerful man in America right now.”

“How does that sound to you, that Grover Norquist of the Americans for Taxpayers Reform, or whatever it is, is the most powerful man in America, because he had 95 percent of the sitting members of my party pledging never to raise a single penny of tax without a commensurate cut in spending,” Simpson said.

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“And so we said, ‘Here’s one for you Grover, babe. We’re taking the tax expenditures and getting rid of 180 plus of them and taking $100 billion to reduce the debt and the other trillion to give the lower tax base,’” he added.

“And what can he do to you? He can’t murder you. He can’t burn your house down. The only thing he can do to you is defeat you for re-election or put some dud into your primary to take you out, and if that means more to you than your country and extremity, you shouldn’t even be in Congress,” Simpson concluded.

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