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Simpson, Bowles don't hold back their criticism

In advance of their scheduled testimony Tuesday before Congress’ special deficit-reduction panel, the co-chairmen of President Obama’s fiscal reform commission offered tough talk for the president, Congress, and outside groups trying to influence the deliberations.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd,” former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, a Democrat, expressed disappointment that Obama has not touted their budget reform recommendations more forcefully.

“It’s been really frustrating, and I think it’s been a shame,” Bowles said. “We proposed $4 trillion in deficit reduction. We didn’t propose that because the No. 4 bus went down the road. We proposed it because that’s the minimum amount you have to reduce the deficit over 10 years in order to stabilize the debt and get it on a downward path as a percent of GDP. He knows that.”

Bowles’ Republican counterpart on the president’s commission, former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson, criticized AARP for a television ad they’re running that argues against any cuts to Medicare and Social Security.

“It’s an arrogant bunch of people where the leadership at the top are not patriots. They’re marketers,” said Simpson.

Bowles agreed with Simpson about needing changes to Social Security, and criticized Democrats in Congress.

“What I can’t understand is how people in my party can oppose making Social Security sustainably solvent so it actually will be there,” said Bowles.

Bowles and Simpson are set to testify on Capitol Hill at 1:30 pm ET today.