Tuesday August 21, 2012 | 03:48 PM

Independent U.S. Senate candidate Angus King will discuss the national debt with former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles, the King campaign announced Tuesday.  

Angus King invited Bowles to the Sept. 9 forum, which will be held at the University of Southern Maine's Hannaford Hall. Bowles is the former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton and he was the co-chair of the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, President Obama's bipartisan panel that last year released an outline of ways to reduce the national debt.

The Simpson-Bowles report was widely heralded for recommending spending reductions to programs cherished by Democrats and Republicans alike. However, few of the recommendations have been enacted due to predicted political implications. 

The Maine Republican Party, in a release sent shortly after the announcement, mocked the discussion.

The release described Bowles as "taking the position against fiscal irresponsibility is Mr. Bowles, a moderate Democrat who helped craft a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion by 2020 mostly through spending cuts."

The release dubs King as "a politically ambiguous Independent who increased spending by 50 percent as governor and left Maine with a $1 billion deficit." 

The forum will take place from 12:30-2 p.m. at the University of Southern Maine's Hannaford Hall.


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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

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