Minnesota Republican candidate laughs that she is clueless on social security

"There are a lot of proposals out there... I haven't sat down to look at any of them," Karin Housley told a local paper. Then on a hot mic, she laughed it off.


U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley (R-MN) has touted herself as a champion for senior citizens during her time as a Minnesota state senator.

Housley is challenging incumbent Tina Smith, a Democrat, for the seat vacated by Al Franken in December. Housley has spent the year tackling the issue of elder abuse while serving as chairperson of the state senate’s Aging and Long-Term Care Policy Committee and making it one of her go-to talking points on the campaign trail.

During an Aug. 29 interview with the Star Tribune newspaper, Housley said the “number one” issue facing seniors across the country is preserving social security. As baby boomers continue retiring, the 2018 Social Security Board of Trustees report projects social security’s reserves will become depleted by 2034.

Smith has opposed cuts to Social Security and has co-sponsored a pair of bills that attempt to provide benefit protections to seniors and repeal the windfall elimination provision.


During the interview, Housley said she did not want to privatize social security. But when pressed, her only solution was getting more people working and paying onto the system. When pointed out that America is facing a labor shortage, she said she hadn’t looked at the many proposals for fixing it that were before her.

“There are a lot of proposals out there that have not been put out in front of me…. I haven’t sat down to look at any of them because I haven’t seen them,” Housley said. “But figuring out a way that we can fund it to keep it going.”

(The exchange starts at about the 21:45 mark.)

Later, during a hot mic moment while chatting with hosts of the Minnesota radio station AM-1280, Housley criticized the Star Tribune interviewer for being “far left.” When the host said Housley needed to stick with her script on various issues, the senate candidate laughed, “Well, I found the areas I need to brush up on too.” She then clarified that she was referring questions surrounding social security.

The Housley campaign did not respond to requests for comment on the candidate’s lack of knowledge surrounding the issue. But the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor (DFL) Party was quick to point out the gaffe.


“Karin Housley has no plan to protect and preserve Social Security for our seniors and for some reason she finds that funny. Protecting Social Security is not a laughing matter. This should be incredibly concerning to all Minnesota families,” said DFL Chair Ken Martin in a statement.