(CNN) - With midterm elections less than three months away, outspoken members of both political parties tried Sunday to blame the nation's economic woes on the fiscal policies supported by their rivals.
In an interview on CNN's State of the Union, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, accused congressional Republicans of "gambling" with Americans' retirement savings.
"If you privatize Social Security … the end result will be that that money is not there," Van Hollen told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "There is not a stable source of retirement money because we'll be literally gambling it on Wall Street. And that has been a long-held position of our Republican colleagues."
Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California dismissed the accusations as "scare tactics" designed to distract Americans from the 9.5 percent unemployment rate.
"Republicans want to secure it [Social Security] and make it there for the future," McCarthy said. "One of the reasons why it's actually losing money right now is because there are so fewer jobs out there and fewer people are paying in."
Watch the debate, after the jump:
McCarthy also dinged President Obama for repeatedly taking his focus off job creation, most recently by defending the rights of Muslims "to build a place of worship and a community center on private property in lower Manhattan, in accordance with local laws and ordinances" amid a local controversy over the planned project's proximity to New York's ground zero.
"It's going to be about jobs," McCarthy said. "but this is just another example: Why isn't the President spending the time debating about jobs instead of moving into New York? And why is he so un-sensitive about this area as well, to engage in a local issue that's causing a problem throughout the nation when the nation shows…a deep sensitivity to this exact location?"
Van Hollen responded Obama was only "stating the principle that under our great constitution, we do not discriminate against people based on their religion."
"He went on to say … the decision as to where to site the mosque, this Muslim place of worship, was up to the people of New York," Van Hollen added.
But McCarthy immediately pounced, pointing out what many people see as a contradiction.
"If Chris is saying this is a New York issue, then why did the president engage in it?" McCarthy asked. "If you listen to what he first said, he brought up the exact location and said he supported it."