The Note: Political S.A.T.

This isn't like the Swift Boat controversy, wherein the White House hemmed and hawed about 527s but failed to formally condemn questions about Kerry's military record. And this isn't a George Lakoff-style-problem either -- it's simply not -- and simply will not be -- a matter of linguistic contrivance that Americans are generally wary of changing the system.

At the same time, fretters who worry that the White House has totally lost its moorings on Social Security and think that it's too late for them to salvage a bill are way jumping the gun.

Lots of "the President was told" in the write-ups of yesterday's White House meeting with GOP Senators. Very little "The President said." So good message discipline from the White House, per usual.

The New York Times' David Rosenbaum does say that the President will offer specifics at SOTU, not just broad principles. LINK

The Washington Post's Mike Allen says that Bush asked the Senators for their patience on Social Security while they begin to figure out how to sell the plan to overhaul it to voters. LINK

Peter Wallsten of the Los Angeles Times writes that President Bush, in his meeting yesteday with 22 African-American business and civic leaders at the White House, told them that Social Security short-changes blacks. LINK

"The conversation demonstrated the White House's determination to build on outreach efforts to blacks that proved effective in battleground states last year, adding Social Security to issues -- such as opposition to same-sex marriage and support for faith-based social programs -- that Republicans believe can provide common ground with black conservatives."

Although we do wonder what the President says his plans are to raise the life expectancy of African-Americans . . .

The Washington Post's Michael Fletcher wraps the meeting and previews today's sit-down with the Congressional Black Caucus. LINK

More on today's CBC meeting from USA Today's Richard Benedetto. LINK

The Boston Globe's Frank Phillips reports that the AFL-CIO is launching a national grassroots campaign to oppose the President's Social Security plan today, kicking off in Boston and San Francisco's financial districts. ". . . [T]he rallies will be followed by events in other major cities. Another phase will include an Internet campaign urging investors to try to force their investment managers to take a public position on the creation of private accounts." LINK

USA Today's William Welch reports that the individual control that President Bush promises people will have under his Social Security plan isn't quite what he's selling. "Major proposals, including those from the president's own commission, to revamp Social Security with private investment accounts include provisions that place big limits on how much money individuals can invest, where it can be invested, what they can do with it when they retire and how much they can pass on to heirs." LINK

Roll Call's Chris Cillizza reports that pollsters are busy helping lawmakers test and shape the language they'll use to fight over Social Security, as well as figure out just exactly where their support is.

Dick Stevenson on the White House's somewhat selective citations of Sen. Moynihan. LINK

Bush agenda: the economy:

Deficit write ups:

The Washington Post's Weisman: LINK

The New York Times' Andrews: LINK

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