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Alan Simpson Tells Lawmakers to 'Get Real'

It would be a grave mistake to use the debate on the debt ceiling to get President Obama to agree to spending cuts, Alan Simpson, co-founder of the Campaign to Fix the Debt and former Wyoming senator told Maria Bartiromo on CNBC's "Closing Bell" Tuesday.

"I know they're going to try it and how far they'll go with that game of chicken I have no idea," Simpson said.

Simpson said lawmakers need to get real about reducing spending but they won't because they are terrified of special interest groups...and Grover Norquist.

"The vampires are out and they don't like to have the blood sucked out of themselves or they won't come back," Simpson said.

He offered this advice to Speaker of the House John Boehner and Republican leadership: "The people of America aren't dumb. They're smarter than their politicians, they always have been. You have to cut spending. How do you do that? Identify it."

And both sides need to learn to get along, Simpson said.

"Quit the phoniness. Quit the crap. Quit the disgust. Quit embarrassing America. Everybody knows you don't like each other and you're trying to pretend you do. Quit the hate. Give up the pettiness. Go see the movie 'Lincoln.'"

— By CNBC's Shannan Siemens. Follow her on Twitter @ShannanSiemens.

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  • With almost 30 years experience in business television, Bill Griffeth is co-anchor of the 3 p.m. ET hour of CNBC's "Closing Bell."

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    Kelly Evans is co-anchor of CNBC's "Closing Bell."