Bernie Sanders: Barack Obama Better Not Cut Social Security

By:  Ian Gray and Ryan Grim

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called out President Barack Obama for softening the commitment he made during the 2008 campaign to protect Social Security from cuts, and for aligning himself with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on the entitlement issue during the first presidential debate.

"Four years ago when Obama ran against John McCain, he was very clear," Sanders told The Huffington Post on Tuesday. "And what he said in so many words is, 'John McCain will cut your Social Security, I will not.'"

Sanders noted that President Obama's tenor has changed, and that he has been increasingly vague about whether or not he would accept cuts to Social Security as part of a larger agreement with congressional Republicans to avoid the looming "fiscal cliff" of the sequestration measures that will take effect at the beginning of next year. "To the best of my knowledge, the president has not told us that he will not cut Social Security," Sanders said.

It has been reported that during the summer of 2011, President Obama was in fact willing to accept cuts to Social Security (also Medicare and Medicaid) in exchange for tax increases on the wealthy, as part of a proposed "grand bargain" with Republicans to raise the debt ceiling.

The Vermont Senator also said that the first presidential debate, in which Obama said he and Romney had a similar position on Social Security, reinforced his fears that the program would be subject to cuts.

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