Clinton, Obama Spar Over Social Security


From CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic and Fernando Suarez:

HENDERSON, NEV. -- Just one day after the relatively cordial exchange between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at the Democrats' debate in Las Vegas, the two were after each other again. At a town hall meeting in Henderson today, Obama talked about a flyer the Clinton campaign has been sending out that criticizes his Social Security plan.

"I want to be clear about what the Social Security plan is, because so many people rely on Social Security," Obama said, "My grandma depends on that income, and right now we've got a long-term problem with Social Security."

He described Social Security as a "long-term problem" and that the next generation of retirees is at risk. Obama's plan proposes that people who make $50,000 or less a year should not pay taxes on Social Security. His plan also includes raising the payroll tax cap.

"We might exempt middle class folks for maybe $97,000 for up to $200,000; there might be some exemptions, but those people are making over $200 - $250,000; they can afford to pay a little more on payroll tax."

Obama said that Clinton is describing this as a "trillion-dollar increase cut on hard-working Americans."

"What's worse is, Senator Clinton, when she was on a rope line in Iowa and somebody asked her about this... she said she'd deal with the same plan that I just offered. But now is saying it is a trillion-dollar tax cut."

Soon after his remarks Clinton told reporters at the University of Northern Las Vegas, "If you look at the record - again I recommend the record to everyone, the record of what we say and what we have done - on several occasions he has advocated lifting the payroll tax and lifting it completely. He's come with variations on that, but he has consistently said on various occasions... he would entertain lifting the payroll tax."

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