Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), one of the U.S. Senate's key opponents to a so-called public option for health care, admitted during a Tuesday appearance on C-SPAN that he has indeed "lived off the public tit" since coming to Congress, and that he participates in a federal farm subsidies program.


The odd refrain came after a caller confronted Grassley on his many years working in government and farming cooperatively with his son in Iowa.

"I'm noticing in your biography that you've been working since 1952 in some form of government capacity, both in Iowa, the House of Representatives and the Congress ..." trailed a caller as Grassley interrupted.

"Does that biography say that I spent 50 years as a farmer as well?" he asked.

"Well, I was going to ask you that as well," the caller replied. "Whether you're getting any subsidies, whether you have been getting any government subsidies."

"Yes, I participate in the farm program," the senator said. "Because I farm 50-50 with my son, and you, and you divide things 50-50. Yes."

The caller's voice seemed to have been lowered as Grassley continued to speak over him.

"For the first 16 years I made $3,000 every other year as a state legislator. Now do you expect me to live on $3,000 every other year?" he said. "No I was a factory worker for 10 years and I was a farmer for that period of time and I farm with my son now. So if you're trying to make a case that I've lived off the public tit all these years, I think you're saying correctly in the years I've been in the Congress but not the years before I came to Congress."

On numerous occasions he has repeated the lie that Democrats embedded provisions in the reforms that would establish "death panels" for the sick and elderly. And, in a major push-back against public insurance, he once alleged that if the United States had universal access to health care, his former colleague Senator Ted Kennedy would have essentially been told to go home and die.

"They’d say 'well, we gotta spend money on people who can contribute more to economy,'" Grassley told Iowa radio station KCJJ in August. "It’s a little like people saying when somebody gets to be 85 their life is worth less than when they were 35 and you pull the tubes on them."

This video was broadcast by C-SPAN on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2009, as snipped by Think Progress.

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