Hey, Scottie. Fuck you and the dead horse you rode in on.
Q So does the President believe that his Social Security proposals will still have a life by the time they get to Congress?
MR. McCLELLAN: Which proposal are you referring to, John? The President has outlined some very clear principles that should guide us as we move forward to address Social Security. Social Security faces many serious challenges and members on both sides of the aisle in Congress recognize the problems facing Social Security and the need to move forward on solutions to address it now, because it only gets worse over time.
Q But in an article, one prominent Republican pronounced the idea a “dead horse.” And I’m just wondering if the President thinks he can still reinvigorate that horse and ride it up to the Hill.
MR. McCLELLAN: I would encourage you to read his entire remarks, because he said a lot more than what you just referenced. And, in fact, he said that he didn’t want to rule anything in or out. And you might want to talk to his office, as well. He was talking about the need to move forward on solving a problem. The President believes very strongly that we must solve problems, not pass them on to future generations.
Q Scott, they’re not mutually exclusive. You can not rule anything in or out, and still say, as the Congressman did, that he believes that partisan bickering will render the President’s proposal to create private accounts a “dead horse.” He was making a prediction. Does the President find it helpful that Republican lawmakers are already wagering on what will happen with the —
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t know that you’re characterizing exactly what he said correctly. I think you should talk to his office about what he was saying.
Q What is your understanding of what Chairman Thomas was saying?
MR. McCLELLAN: I don’t speak for members of Congress. I’ll let them speak for themselves.
Q No, but you clearly have an understanding. You’re quibbling with what some people here interpreted —
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, it was interesting, I read some of the coverage of his remarks yesterday, and there was one paper that played up certain things that he said, but there was other coverage that gave a fuller account of what he was talking about. But what I do know he was talking about was that we have a serious problem facing Social Security. And he was talking about the need to look at solutions for getting it done. That’s the — that’s the kind of people that the President wants to work closely with to get this done.
Q So you don’t think that he was suggesting that you didn’t have a chance on Capitol Hill, but rather that it would face some partisan headwinds?
MR. McCLELLAN: I think you should look at some of the other coverage. I’ll let him speak for himself about what he was talking about.
A Holden Prediction: You will never hear Chimpy slur the words “crisis” and “Social Security” in the same sentence again.
Q Does the President still believe there’s a crisis in Social Security and that the crisis is now?
MR. McCLELLAN: John, we talked about this last week. We can argue over the words crisis or not a crisis, but the bottom line is that there is a serious problem facing Social Security. Younger workers today — my generation and younger generations expect that they won’t have any savings, when they retire, in their Social Security accounts. That’s why the President wants to act to strengthen it. We see that in 2018 that the number of people paying into the system won’t be able to support the benefits being paid out and that —
Q I understand the math —
MR. McCLELLAN: — and that gets worse over time.
Q — but it was just that idea of a “crisis.” And if there’s an argument, the argument is with yourselves, it’s not with us, because he was the one who used the word.
Q Do you believe that quibbling over the word “crisis,” itself, is distracting from the main argument?
MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think that was one point I was discussing earlier. We can debate whether it’s a crisis or not a crisis, but the facts are very clear and it is a serious problem facing Social Security. It is a problem that gets worse over time. We’ve made clear we believe it is. And I think President Clinton and other democratic leaders have made clear that it is. Now it’s time to talk about how we can find solutions to this problem.