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UPDATE: Allen West calls Social Security ‘a form of slavery’

Monday, July 9th, 2012 by Dara Kam

Tea party firebrand U.S. Rep. Allen West likened Social Security to a “form of slavery” in an interview on Fox News this weekend.

West, running for a second term in Congress in the new Palm Beach County-Treasure Coast District 18, said the number of Americans going on Social Security disability is higher since 2009 than the number of new jobs created, blaming President Obama for “creating this sense of economic dependence, which to me is a form of modern, 21st-century slavery.”

West blamed the “liberal media” for misrepresenting his comments in a post on his Facebook page.

“Over the weekend I was on Fox & Friends discussing the growing number of Americans becoming dependent on government programs from food stamps to social security disability. Of course the liberal media is now putting words in mouth and saying I attacked Social Security. The fact is, I will work to protect Social Security and Medicare for our seniors and for future generations. It is too bad the media refuses to report on the failed economic policies of Washington liberals and the dependency culture career politicians are creating to expand their political power,” West said in the post.

West opted to run for the new district instead of seeking reelection to his newly redrawn District 22 seat where Democrats now have a 9-point edge. West’s race against Democrat Patrick Murphy is one of the most high-profile Congressional battles in the state.

Murphy’s campaign jumped on West’s Social Security-bashing, pointing out in a press release that residents over the age of 65 make up about 22 percent of District 18.

“Our seniors have worked their whole lives for a safety net that will allow them to retire with dignity, and Allen West is intent on doing anything he can to make it disappear,” Murphy’s campaign manager Anthony Kusich said.

A week ago, West accused President Obama of wanting to enslave Americans with government programs.

“He does not want you to have the self-esteem of getting up and earning and having that title of American. He’d rather you be his slave,” West told the crowd at a campaign event in Port St. Lucie.

Talking Social Security in Miami, Romney invokes Reagan and FDR

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011 by George Bennett

MIAMI — There were several mentions of Ronald Reagan this morning when Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney held a town hall-style meeting with about 80 people at a hotel ballroom.

Gipper references are common in GOP primary settings. Not so common are approving mentions of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the New Deal architect who plays a heavy in Republican frontrunner Rick Perry‘s book Fed Up.

Romney managed both while taking a swipe at Perry’s Social Security stance.

“Ronald Reagan… was a believer in Social Security,” Romney said. “I believe in Social Security. There are tens of millions of Americans who rely upon Social Security to meet their needs. I want to protect it. I want to save it. I want to make sure that it’s there for coming generations. I think it’s a good thing. I don’t think everything that comes out of Democrats is good. But this came out of FDR, I think it’s pretty darn good. And I’m going to make sure, like Ronald Reagan, we keep it.”

Crist: I’m the only candidate who’ll stand up for Social Security

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 by Dara Kam

Who’s a flip-flopper now?

After weeks of taking heat from GOP opponent Marco Rubio (and Democrat candidate U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek) in his quest for the U.S. Senate, independent Gov. Charlie Crist said Rubio can’t seem to make up his mind where he stands on the issue.

Crist said the former House Speaker changed his stand “three or four times in the past four months” about privatizing Social Security.

“It’s hard to keep up. But obviously he’s all over the map as it relates to Social Security,” Crist told reporters this afternoon. “The seniors of our state deserve to have somebody who will protect and will preserve Social Security. I’m the only candidate in the race who is committed to doing so.”

(more…)

Rubio now says Social Security privatization ‘doesn’t work’

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010 by George Bennett

Rubio in Boynton Beach Monday with supporter Pat Haden at Duffy's Sprots Grill. That's Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein to the left. GARY CORONADO PHOTO

Rubio in Boynton Beach Monday with supporter Pat Haden at Duffy's Sprots Grill. That's Palm Beach County GOP Chairman Sid Dinerstein to the left. GARY CORONADO PHOTO


Republican Senate nominee Marco Rubio, who once favored giving younger workers the option of investing a portion of their Social Security payroll taxes in private accounts, says he abandoned that view at least six months ago after concluding the idea “doesn’t work.”

Read about it here.

Democrat Klein’s latest anti-West ad calls GOP challenger ‘too extreme’

Monday, September 13th, 2010 by George Bennett


Democratic U.S. Rep. Ron Klein’s third TV ad is also his third slam on Republican challenger Allen West, calling him “too extreme for South Florida.”

The ad features a clip of West at a tea party rally saying “I’m just honored to be here today with all of my fellow right-wing extremists.”

Asked if West’s remarks might be considered tongue-in-cheek, a Klein spokeswoman said “as always, Allen West’s own words speak for themselves.”

Klein’s ad also claims West favors “destroying” Social Security and believes Medicare “can be cut” — although the Klein campaign doesn’t cite direct quotes of West saying either.

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Kendrick Meek’s ‘non-campaign event’ at Palm Beach County senior center

Thursday, August 12th, 2010 by George Bennett

Kendrick Meek, in the final two weeks of a tough Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate, has reserved a room at the North County Senior Center in Palm Beach Gardens on Friday afternoon for “a non-campaign event” to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Social Security.

The Post‘s eagle-eyed county government reporter Jennifer Sorentrue spotted an e-mail from Assistant Palm Beach County Administrator Jon Van Arnam to county commissioners this afternoon informing them of Meek’s planned use of the meeting room.

“A non-campaign event….sure,” responded Commissioner Steven Abams, one of two Republicans on the board.

Meek spokesman Adam Sharon, via e-mail, says that “no campaigning will take place within the complex – no campaign signs, no literature, no sign up or volunteer forms.  The event will simply focus on celebrating Social Security’s ‘birthday’ with SEIU.  Any political or campaign talk will happen I am sure, but off grounds.” 

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Kendrick Meek’s five-minute Social Security answer: Call in the experts

Saturday, May 15th, 2010 by George Bennett

Meek at Friday's editorial board meeting

Meek at Friday's editorial board meeting

Democratic Senate candidate Kendrick Meek opposes raising the age for eligibility for Social Security benefits, an idea that Republican candidate Marco Rubio has said he’s willing to consider to preserve the long-term solvency of the retirement program.

When The Palm Beach Post editorial board challenged Meek Friday to offer an alternative idea, Meek ended up saying — after more than five minutes — that he’ll work “to make sure that we get the experts around the table to make it happen…to keep Social Security afloat. Every approach towards solvency of Social Security has been a working-group effort in getting the experts around the table.”

Click here to watch the video of Meek’s editorial board appearance. The Social Security discussion runs from approximately the 25:43 mark to the 31:34 mark.

After his visit to The Post, Meek attended a fund-raiser west of Delray Beach.

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