In today’s gaggle Little Scottie sez the president wants to compromise with Democrats on Social Security but those damn dems are obstructionists because they won’t do exactly what Chimpy wants.
Q I have one thing. There are reports this morning that both Bill Thomas and Chuck Grassley have given up trying to get Republican support for personal accounts and they’re going to bring to the floors of their respective Houses a bill that doesn’t have personal accounts. Is the administration okay with that?
MR. McCLELLAN: I’m not sure — which reports are you referring to?
Q The Wall Street Journal story that says that pretty much that both chairmen have given up trying to find a majority support in their committees.
MR. McCLELLAN: We’re working very closely with Congress to save Social Security for future generations. This is an important part of what the President talks about when he talks about economic security. Retirement security is a critical component of people’s economic security, and the President believes very strongly that we need to not only make it permanently sound, but we also need to make it a better deal. And that’s why personal accounts are so important. And the President is going to continue advocating for an approach that fixes the hole in the safety net for future generations, and also makes it a better deal for future generations by allowing them to realize a greater rate of return on their retirement savings.
Q Do you think the two issues could be separated? In other words, you can move a solvency bill now and then come back later and take a look at the personal accounts again?
MR. McCLELLAN: Let me reiterate that we believe that making it permanently sound and making it a better deal are both an important part of solving and – not only – well, of saving and strengthening Social Security. We want to save it and strengthen it, and that’s why personal accounts are so important.
Q What do you think the chances of getting it done this year are? I mean, it looks like it’s a long way off –
MR. McCLELLAN: One thing I’m going to be talking about, or mentioning in the week ahead is the President next week will be participating in another conversation on Social Security. This is a high priority and the American people recognize that there are major problems facing Social Security. You’ve had a few Democrats in the House that have broken with the leadership and said we need to put forward solutions. And the President is going to continue working with all those who are committed to getting something done.
It’s unfortunate that the Democratic leadership is still trying to block efforts to solve this important priority.
Q But the Democrats are saying that the President is being obstructionist and refusing to negotiate, only if personal accounts are on the table. Why won’t you take personal accounts off the table?
And finally, those dastardly terraists who did not exist in Iraq prior to Chimpy’s illegal invasion have made the Blue-Fingered Republic the Central Front in the War on Terra — and they’re making the Chimpster look bad!
Q Scott, how do you react to the new – I guess, The New York Times/CBS poll numbers about efforts to bring stability and order in Iraq, now 60 percent, up from 47 percent in February, of people being troubled by what they’re seeing? How do you react to that –
MR. McCLELLAN: I kind of talked about it a little bit yesterday. I think the President is going to – in terms of the situation in Iraq, you’re going to hear more from the President in his radio address, when he talks about it. Remember what I said yesterday, it’s important to keep the American people informed about the progress being made in Iraq, the difficulties and dangers that remain and our strategy for succeeding and getting our troops home. We all want to see our troops return soon. The President wants to see our troops return soon.
But I think no matter where you stood prior to the decision to go into Iraq, we can all recognize that the terrorists have made Iraq the central front in the war on terrorism. That’s why it’s so critical that we succeed in Iraq. And our troops are doing a tremendous job to complete the mission. The terrorists recognize they can’t defeat the coalition troops and the Iraqi forces, so they’re trying to shake our resolve, and that’s all they can do. But the Iraqi people have shown that they are committed to moving forward on a free and democratic future. Each step of the way the Iraqi people have proven the skeptics wrong. They have turned out in large numbers to elect a transitional government. That transitional government is moving forward on drafting a constitution. We’re confident that the Iraqi people will continue to defy the skeptics. There has been significant progress made in one year.
But Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism. A free Iraq will be a powerful force for transforming the rest of the Middle East, and that’s why it’s so important that we succeed. And I think the American people recognize that it is important that we succeed in Iraq for our long-term security.