WASHINGTON, Apr. 12
Let's assume for the sake of argument that Republicans do not get mucho credit for liberating Iraq or revitalizing the American economy when voters go to the polls this fall.
As the governing party, the GOP will want a combination of past recent accomplishments and pledges of future action to take to the voters. (And of course THOSE OTHER FOLKS WILL TAX YOU TO DEATH AND LET THE TERRORISTS WIN.)
In the "future action" category, it does not appear that any of the bold, future-oriented agenda items from the State of the Union are currently lighting the world on fire. So maybe you got your immigration bill (or maybe not) or some deficit reduction (or maybe not) or some ethics reform (or maybe not).
Let's focus on past recent accomplishments then. How about the biggest entitlement expansion in a generation? How is that playing with the old people who vote in disproportionate numbers, and their Boomer kids?
We'll find out today (or maybe not), when President Bush participates in a conversation on the Medicare prescription drug benefit at 1:50 pm ET at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, VA. We know the President isn't all that fond of polls, but we wonder if he'll mention any research while in Annandale today.
According to the latest ABC News-Washington Post poll, "millions of senior citizens have not signed up for and do not know much about Medicare's new prescription drug benefit, but among those who have enrolled, three-quarters said the paperwork was easy to complete and nearly two-thirds said the program saved them money." LINK
The Washington Post's Birnbaum and Deane write that the findings underscore the challenge and opportunity facing President Bush and GOPers among older voters.
ABC's Karen Travers reports "there will be several hundred people in the audience today at the Medicare event -- mostly seniors he is trying to reach out to on the prescription drug benefit. The President is not expected to take questions."
As for future health care accomplishments, Senate Republicans have little hope for progress on the issue this year, according to Bloomberg's Jay Newton-Small.LINK
Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA) signs his much-heralded health care legislation at 11:00 am ET in Faneuil Hall that through a private, market-based reform will make health insurance available for nearly all citizens of Massachusetts within the next three years. The man who defeated him in the 1994 Senate race, Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA), will be on hand for the ceremony as well. (It's unclear how the expected gubernatorial veto of the $295-per-employee fee will affect the bipartisan bonhomie scheduled to be on display at today's ceremony.)
In Bedford, NH, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) keynotes a health-care leadership event.
President Bush also meets with the president of Ghana at 11:05 am ET.
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) continues his recess tour through early voting and battleground states with a visit to Minnesota today where he holds a press availability with Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) at 4:00 pm ET. LINK
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) joins the California Clean Energy Fund at 2:00 pm ET in Davis, CA to announce the winner of a $1 million grant to help build the nation's first Energy Efficiency Center. The governor will tout his environmental policies to a roundtable of Silicon Valley CEOs at 6:30 pm ET in San Jose, CA.