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Simpson: Everything is on the table

From NBC's Mark Murray
NBC's Andrea Mitchell interviewed the two co-chairs of President Obama's deficit-reduction commission, Erskine Bowles (D) and Alan Simpson (R), on her 1:00 pm ET MSNBC show. And the always-colorful Simpson, the former Wyoming senator, had plenty to say.

On dealing with the attacks the commission is receiving from the right and left:

MR. SIMPSON: We don't have any illusions. We both have loving wives and children and grandchildren, and we can go home to them. And we won't go home and suck our thumb, but we're going to give it a try.

I've never heard more cackling from the left and the right and the seniors. It's just -- it's an impossible thing we're doing, but I'm one of those naive people. I've been in impossible things -- immigration, Iraq Study Group. I've seen successes, and I don't know where we're going, but I do know that everything is on the table.

Someone you, you mean tell me that the new health-care bill is on the table? And we said, yeah.

MS. MITCHELL: Everything? Including the health-care bill?

MR. SIMPSON: Everything.

On the criticism he's receiving from anti-tax advocate Grover Norquist:

People should write and ask for his books because he's spending taxpayer money to send out this drivel. Somebody should write and be sure that he's spending those taxpayer bucks properly.

And on the increasingly partisan environment in the Senate:

Well, I think a lot of the venom came from the House. When I was there, the House was under the control of one party. It wouldn't have mattered if it would have been the Republicans, and the venom -- and they said, I've got to get out of this atmosphere, so they came to the Senate.

And they brought that terrible partisanship with them. Even the conquerors got tired of being, you know, after the slaves, and they just crawled out of the hole to the slave ship and came over to the Senate and started beating everybody up over there.