- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2016

EXETER, N.H. — Sen. Bernard Sanders on Friday called on rival Hillary Clinton to promise the American people that she wouldn’t cut Social Security benefits if elected president.

At a campaign rally here, Mr. Sanders said Mrs. Clinton has left herself wiggle room on the issue, and he used the entitlement program to make the case to voters that he’s the more progressive candidate in the race.

“The issue right now is to expand Social Security benefits. … It is imperative that we increase and expand benefits for senior citizens and disables veterans on Social Security by lifting the cap on taxable income,” Mr. Sanders said at the rally before calling on Mrs. Clinton to embrace the same position.

The Clinton campaign has said Mrs. Clinton has no plans to cut Social Security and wants to expand benefits.

But the Huffington Post reported Friday that Clinton aides would not completely rule out any benefit cuts moving forward, giving Mr. Sanders an opening to launch a political attack just days before the crucial New Hampshire primary.

Progressive groups pounced on the issue.

Hillary Clinton says she has ‘no plans’ to cut Social Security — but George W. Bush had ‘no plans’ to invade Iraq. That is not a promise, and our grandparents and veterans need a promise,” said Stephanie Taylor, co-founder of the powerful liberal group the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “It is an absolute must for a Democratic nominee who claims to be progressive to say clearly and unequivocally that they will never cut Social Security benefits. Bernie Sanders has made that commitment. Hillary Clinton should make that commitment before the New Hampshire primary so Democrats can focus on expanding benefits.”

In a statement to the Huffington Post, an unnamed Clinton aide tried to downplay the matter.

“She has no plans to cut benefits and, in fact, has a plan to expand them,” the aide said.

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