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Candidates Dropped the Ball on Social Security

When it comes to securing our nation’s future, the debate was a “nothing-burger”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes the stage with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the first Presidential Debate

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton failed to mention Social Security during their first presidential debate.

Sixty million Americans count on it, 170 million pay in, yet zero questions were asked about how to keep Social Security strong at last night’s debate.

For the future of Social Security, the debate was a “nothingburger.”

Despite receiving more than 100,000 emails from AARP members, moderator Lester Holt failed to ask a single question about Social Security. And the candidates failed to bring it up. Instead, they used their 90 minutes to serve up the usual — attacks, charges and countercharges, but nothing on Social Security.

Also see: Zero Questions on Social Security: Take a Stand


They dropped the ball. And voters were the losers.

AARP launched Take a Stand to press the candidates to lead on Social Security and tell voters how they’ll keep it strong for future generations. If our leaders don’t commit to act, future retirees could lose up to $10,000 per year. That’s why we need the candidates to lead on Social Security — not just for today’s retirees but for people who are going to need it one day.

Last night, 65 staff members and dedicated volunteers brought the effort to Hofstra University. Volunteers created a presence across the campus, demonstrating to national, state and local reporters the urgency of updating Social Security.

And 1,200 students signed our petition urging Lester Holt to ask about Social Security at the debate. Their concern really shows that Social Security matters to people of all ages.

Their belief in the importance of addressing the future of Social Security was confirmed last week. AARP held a focus group of 30 undecided voters — ages 22 to 69. They were brought together to talk about the campaign, in a discussion led by Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

I was surprised that over and over, these voters complained that the candidates were not addressing the issues that really make a difference in their lives — like the future of Social Security.

They were more serious than the politicians.

One put it this way: “I don't want to hear what they think I want to hear. I want to hear what's necessary to fix this to get a solution.”

Our polling tells a similar story. A recent AARP survey of women 50-plus in battleground states found that more than 70 percent support “immediate action” to keep Social Security strong.

The next debate is a little over a week away and we’re already calling on the moderators — Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz — to ask the question. We deserve real answers on how the candidates will keep Social Security strong for us and our families — and the moderators are our best chance to get them.

Encourage ABC’s Martha Raddatz and CNN’s Anderson Cooper to ask about Social Security by sharing your message at #TakeAStand at the Debate


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