Bernie Sanders, the unaffiliated socialist senator from Vermont, berated and belittled Minnesota Republican Congresswoman Michele Bachmann during a painfully-bizarre discussion on income inequality Monday on CNN.
The left-wing firebrand “debated” the tea party darling on Wolf Blitzer’s “The Situation Room” Monday afternoon — though the two politicians often seemed to be yelling past each other, at least when they weren’t interrupting each other.
Things got particularly heated when the ideologically-opposed lawmakers debated Social Security reform, with Sanders alleging that most Republicans favor cutting the benefits program:
BACHMANN: That’s absolutely a lie. This old canard —
SANDERS: Oh, you do not want to cut —
BACHMANN: — that is trotted out all the time —
SANDERS: Wait a second, wait a second —
BACHMANN: Well, it’s a lie. I mean, let’s face it Senator Sanders —
SANDERS: Do you believe in the chained CPI?
BACHMANN: — you shouldn’t be lying about what our position is.
SANDERS: Do you believe — oh, I’m not lying.
BACHMANN: Ask me. Ask me.
SANDERS: Do you believe in a chained CPI?
BACHMANN: Do I want to cut Social Security? No, I’m not cutting Social Security —
SANDERS: Ok, did you vote to transform —
BACHMANN: That is not what I’m doing. But I will tell you —
SANDERS: Do you support a chained CPI? Do you support a chained CPI? DO YOU SUPPORT A CHAINED CPI!?
BACHMANN: — what is going to turn the economy around.
SANDERS: You’re not answering the question! Do you support a chained CPI?
BACHMANN: It is a joke for the Democratic Party to lie —
SANDERS: You’re not answering. Alright, I asked you a question and you didn’t give me an answer!
BACHMANN: Well, calm down.
SANDERS: Do you support a chained CPI!?
BACHMANN: Calm down!
And so went the rest of the segment. For what it’s worth, a “chained CPI”, or Consumer Price Index, would change how some Social Security benefits are calculated. Payments are currently formulated every year through an outdated CPI formula, prompting some to advocate a “chained” CPI that would better reflect inflation and prices and reduce inaccurate payments. Lawmakers opposed to any Social Security changes — including Bernie Sanders — contend the new formula would be used to withhold payments from the elderly and impoverished.
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