Today on Holden’s Obsession with the Gaggle

From Holden:

Is Dear Leader failing in his efforts to sell the destruction of Social Security? NO WAY! Why, it’s only the first inning and our guy hasn’t even had his turn at bat yet (unless you count one State of the Union address, three press conferences, and ten “conversations” on Social Security in various states and the District of Columbia). We have not begun to fail!

So sayeth Diminuitive Scottie.

Q So you don’t feel any need to retool the message? Or is it, just keep doing what you’re doing, and eventually people will come on board?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that’s what I just pointed out. If you look at survey after survey, it shows that the American people recognize there are serious problems facing Social Security. That’s very clear. But it’s important to have a clear understanding of what those problems are.

And this is the first stage, as the President has talked about, in our efforts to strengthen Social Security. So we’re still in this early stage right now where we’re reaching out to the American people, we’re reaching out to members of Congress in trying to find a way we can move forward in a — for a bipartisan solution.

Q Scott, those surveys that you mentioned a couple of times also show the more the President talks, the less Americans seem to trust him on the issue of Social Security, and the less they like the notion of private or personal accounts. What accounts for that?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, first of all, the President has talked about some of his ideas for personal accounts. And I think there are surveys that show Americans in support of being able to have the opportunity of owning more of their retirement savings [Gee, which surveys show that result, Scottie?]. This is about giving people — giving all Americans the opportunity to own their retirement savings by giving them a voluntary option of investing in personal accounts. And the President will continue to talk about that.

It was just 30 days — just over 30 days ago when he outlined his idea for personal accounts in the State of the Union address. And that’s part of the solution. But this is a comprehensive — we need to make Social Security permanently sound. If you recall, that’s what the President has talked about. And now you have a lot more people talking about the need to do just that. And so we appreciate the progress that’s been made there.

Q I guess I would follow up by saying, you’ve made progress, people have heard the President’s words, they recognize there’s a crisis. They also seem to be hearing his words on these other fronts, and trusting him less, and liking private accounts less. So if he’s effective on one front, isn’t he being quite uneffective on the other?

MR. McCLELLAN: No, I disagree, because it’s very early in the process, and you’re trying to judge the outcome of the game in the very first inning. And, so there’s —

Q But it’s early enough in the process — it’s early enough in the process to have made a conclusion about whether you’re making progress on educating the American people. So they’re only listening to part of what he’s saying, and not the other part, or they’re not smart enough —

MR. McCLELLAN: The focus right now — absolutely not. In fact, quite the opposite. That’s why we trust people to be able to have a — more say over their own retirement security. We’re going to continue talking about the importance of making sure that our children and grandchildren have a secure retirement. There have been some scare tactics out there, saying that this would affect seniors. Well, seniors are learning, that’s not the case. It’s not going to affect today’s seniors. They have their guarantee. We want to make sure that their children and grandchildren have a guarantee. And that’s what this is about.

Spin, Scottie, Spin!

Watch for the words “safety net” to start popping up in the president’s “conversations” on Social Security. Scottie repeated those words three times today, it must be the new hotness.