Democratic campaign consultant blasts Talent

Friday, November 1, 2002

A Democratic Party leader lashed out at U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent on Thursday, accusing the Republican of trying to privatize Social Security and calling such plans "scary" for elderly Missourians.

Democratic campaign consultant Roy Temple criticized Talent and Vice President Dick Cheney while stumping for U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan in Cape Girardeau.

"Jim Talent accuses Senator Carnahan of scaring seniors, but the truth is that the bill he co-sponsored to privatize Social Security and cut benefits is very scary indeed," he said.

Talent campaign officials have said the former St. Louis County congressman doesn't want to privatize Social Security and has never voted to do so.

But Temple said Talent supported a bill that would have taken $3 trillion from the Social Security Trust Fund and put it into private investment accounts.

"On Halloween, I'd like to remind everyone that the scary Talent/Cheney privatization plan is all trick and no treat for Missouri seniors," Temple said.

He charged that privatizing Social Security would put Missourians' retirement benefits at risk.

Temple, who has taken a leave of absence from his job as Carnahan's chief of staff to help campaign for her re-election, talked to reporters outside the Federal Building on Broadway. Temple was accompanied by a Missouri Democratic Party campaign aide.

A security officer with the federal marshal's service said he didn't believe candidates were allowed to campaign inside the Federal Building.

There was no crowd of Democratic supporters at Temple's brief news conference.

Temple's comments came only three hours before Cheney addressed an enthusiastic crowd of Talent supporters at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

Temple said Cheney wanted to privatize Social Security when he visited Missouri during the 2000 presidential campaign.

But he said Cheney and Talent have quit talking about the issue in the face of stock market declines.

Temple also accused Republicans and the Bush administration of ignoring the economy in this year's congressional elections at a time when many Americans are worried about losing their jobs.

"I don't think it is a good political strategy and I don't think it is a good way to govern," he said.

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