Ex-Sen. Simpson apologizes for gaffe, will remain at post

Alan Simpson will continue to serve in his capacity as Republican co-chairman of President Obama's fiscal commission in spite of a controversial statement he made in an e-mail to a critic Monday.

Simpson, the gaffe-prone former GOP senator from Wyoming, on Wednesday apologized to Ashley Carson of the Older Women's League for sending her an e-mail Monday that sharply criticized Social Security and compared it to "a milk cow with 310 million tits."

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In response to his original e-mail, several lawmakers and liberal groups called on Obama to fire Simpson, saying his position undermined the credibility of the fiscal panel. 

But the White House acknowledged Simpson's gesture and said he would remain in his post, The New York Times reported Thursday.

"While we regret and do not condone his comments, we accept [Simpson's] apology, and he will continue to serve," said White House spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki.

The White House acted quickly to throw cold water on the flap, which had caused an unwanted controversy for the commission.

The panel is expected to make its recommendations for reducing the growth of the federal deficit in December. Republican and Democratic members of Congress, who are worried the commission will propose either drastic spending cuts or tax increases to reduce the nation's growing debt, have already applied intense pressure on the commission.

"And yes, I’ve made some plenty smart cracks about people on Social Security who milk it to the last degree. You know ‘em too. It’s the same with any system in America. We’ve reached a point now where it’s like a milk cow with 310 million tits! Call when you get honest work!" Simpson had written to Carson.

His tone softened in an apology letter to Carson on Wednesday.

"Over the last 40 years, I have had my size 15 feet in my mouth a time or two. To quote my old friend and colleague Senator Lloyd Bentsen, when I make a mistake 'It's a doozy!'"