By Walter Alarkon - 08/27/10 04:41 PM EDT
"The problem lurking behind all of this is President Obama," said Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), during a conference call Friday. "I find this deeply disturbing that he has not fired Alan Simpson."
The calls on Obama to fire Simpson followed an e-mail the commission co-chairman sent to the head of the Older Women's League. Simpson said Social Security needed to be reformed because it had "reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!"
"Call when you get honest work!" added Simpson, who served as a senator from Wyoming and as a Republican whip.
O'Neill said the president should have acted as soon as he found out about Simpson's "abusive and misleading" e-mail.
"He should have stepped up and said, 'I know women elected me to office, and I know Simpson has gone beyond the pale and needs to be removed,' " she said.
Liberals have been critical of the White House fiscal commission since Obama created it last spring, fearing that it could lead to cuts in entitlement programs that seniors, the middle class and the poor rely on. The left has increased criticism of the bipartisan panel, tasked with producing a deficit-reduction plan, since Simpson's controversial remarks.
"Mr. Simpson has demonstrated for decades a consistent and offensive attitude toward seniors and women," said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), on Friday's conference call. "He needs to be removed, and with that removal, we also bring into question the function, purpose and eventual product of this commission."
The latest flap between Obama and liberal groups follows the controversy surrounding White House press secretary Robert Gibbs's comments that the "professional left" will never be satisfied with Obama. Groups on the left have been frustrated with the president over healthcare reform, gays in the military and several other issues.
Simpson's controversial remarks were made in an e-mail to Ashley Carson, head of the Older Women's League. He apologized to Carson in a letter Wednesday.
"I can see that my remarks have caused you anguish, and that was not my intention," he said. "I certainly did not intend to diminish your hard work for the Older Women's League. I know you care deeply about strengthening Social Security, and so do I, just as deeply."
Liberals questioned the decision to name Simpson as the co-chairman of the commission soon after Obama announced it.
Carson's group said Simpson has made sexist remarks before. In 1991, Simpson dismissed Anita Hill's allegations that she was sexually harassed by then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas and said she would face "real harassment" during the Senate nomination debate.
"She will be injured and destroyed and belittled and hounded and harassed, real harassment, different from the sexual kind, just plain old Washington-variety harassment, which is pretty unique in itself," Simpson told reporters in October 1991.