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Simpson: If You Can’t Compromise ‘You’re a Zero.’

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Evan Vucci/AP

Former U.S. Senator and co-chairman of President Barack Obama's deficit commission Alan Simpson told an audience Tuesday that citizens should vote for leaders that demonstrate a willingness to compromise.

"The word compromise now means you're a wimp," said Simpson. "And let me tell ya, if you can't learn to compromise an issue without compromising yourself you should never be in any legislative body and furthermore you should never be married," he said to laughter. 

"What the hell is that about?" he continued. "If you can't compromise on an issue without compromising yourself you're a zero. You're nothing." 

The remarks came during an event moderated by George Washington University's Frank Sesno sponsored by Face the Facts USA.

Sesno pressed the former Republican Senator from Wyoming on his remarks. "When you ran for office, when you ran for reelection," said Sesno, "did you [go around] giving speeches about how you were going to go to Washington and compromise?"

"I used to say, find me where they're after my butt and I'll have a town meeting," said Simpson. "I'll speak for five minutes and let them talk for two hours. I took on the veterans, I took on the AARP, and the best thing that ever happened after every meeting was 'Simpson, you're cute and you're smart and you're a smart aleck. I didn't agree with you but by God you answered the question honestly.'" 

"And that's all people want," continued Simpson. "You don't have to be with them, just tell them the truth!"

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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