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Chambliss: So What If I Can't Define What A Recession Is?

Reported by Ellen - December 2, 2008 -

One day after being outed for trying to cover up his ignorance about what a recession is, Saxby Chambliss took the new tack of saying, essentially, “So what?” Chambliss also insisted he's not for privatizing Social Security, he “just” wants to allow taxpayers to invest some of the money on their own. With video

Chambliss appeared on Hannity & Colmes last night (12/1/08) in what Hannity obviously hoped would be a boon to the Georgia Republican Senator's run-off election Tuesday. Hannity's portion of the interview was pretty much standard issue. He fed Chambliss a slew of questions designed to elicit campaign-boosting answers: Has Barack Obama stayed out of the Georgia race because of “a lack of political courage?” How did it go with “rock star” Sarah Palin campaigning for you? Will your opponent be a “rubber stamp” for Democrats?

But then Colmes took his turn. He asked Chambliss about his previous day's appearance on FOX News Sunday where first he was caught lying in an attempt to defend his remark: “We may not be in a racession. I don't know what that term means” and then misstated the definition.

Chambliss said, “Uh, well, you know, that was in the heat of the moment there, Alan. What can I say? But the fact is that there was a dispute over the definition of, technically, what's a recession. But what I went on to say to Chris (Wallace)... was that I know times are tough in Georgia.”

But that's not what Chambliss said when he made the original remark.

Colmes said, “But if you're not going to acknowledge what the issues are, that we're in a recession, then (the National Bureau of Economic Research) came out today, said we were in a recession a year ago, and to not, to say you don't know what it is, and not define it properly, what kind of confidence does that give the electorate?”

“Well, Alan,” Chambliss answered, “You know the electorate that's worried about making their mortgage payment, that's worried about making their car payment, that's worried about losing their job, they don't care what the definition of a recession is. They want somebody who's a policy maker who cares about them.”

Colmes changed the subject, “Senator, you also wanted to privatize Social Security. The market was down 600 points today (actually, it was closer to 700). Do you acknowledge now that had we privatized Social Security as you wanted to do, people would be suffering even more and losing their life savings in the name of retirement?

“Well, Alan,” Chambliss said again. “You sound like my opponent. I never sought to privatize Social Security. I do think that people ought to have some control over their money rather than the government just mandating to 'em how they're gonna invest their money.”

“You were not for privatization?” Colmes asked.

That must have hit a nerve because Hannity started butting in. “He's for choice.”

After Colmes pointed out he was asking the guest, Chambliss finally said, “Privatization is not the right word. What I want to do is let people take their own money, Alan, and decide how it ought to be invested.”