The Note: The Boy Looking for the Pony

WASHINGTON, March 2 --


In the face of another news cycle of pessimism about the fate of 2005 Social Security reform, the President has:

-- the boundless optimism of Nicolle Devenish and Trent Duffy.

-- that new Treasury-based war room, staffed with very talented people.

-- more upcoming presidential travel.

-- the focus of some of the best minds in the Administration.

-- (despite yesterday's Frist and Grassley remarks), no clear, broad-based attempts by Republican members of Congress to win the LaHood Award on this matter (yet).

-- Rick Santorum's pitbull/"pair of trousers in his mouth" metaphor about the President's determination.

-- some nifty new talking points responding to anti-Bush attacks.

-- the millions of dollars in the pipeline to be spent by the outside allied groups, along with stepped up high-profile surrogate activity.

In tomorrow's Note, we will publish the formula (created by Matthew Dowd, Jack Oliver, and some University of Texas grad students) that shows how all of the above could trump the forces allied against reform.

And/but given that everyone involves agreed that Social Security reform has to be bipartisan to pass, we wonder if it might have been smart/nice if even ONE Republican Senator had gone to the salute to Tom Daschle last night -- even as just a purely cynical, tactical gambit.


For a moment, we lost our heads.

Back to reality.

President Bush heads to Arnold, MD for a conversation about job training at Anne Arundel Community College at 10:35 am ET. At 2:00 pm, the President participates in the ceremony at the Capitol honoring Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson with the Congressional Gold Medal. Rachel Robinson, Jackie Robinson's widow, accepts the award.

At 3:30 pm ET, Bush is back at the White House for a photo op with World Series Baseball Champion Boston Red Sox.

Sen. John Kerry and Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) drafted the legislation honoring Robinson with the award, and Kerry will be on hand for both that ceremony and the Red Sox photo op -- the first time he and President Bush may be close enough to interact publicly.

At 6:00 pm ET, Vice President Cheney attends the American Enterprise Institute's annual dinner and lecture.

Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan testifies before the House Budget Committee at 10:00 am ET.

House Republicans and Democrats hold their closed-door party conferences at 9:00 am ET. At 10:00 am ET, Majority Leader Tom DeLay, Majority Whip Roy Blunt, and Rep. Anne Northrup follow up with a stakeout to talk about Social Security.

At 1:00 pm ET, Sens. Reid, Schumer, Stabenow, and Baucus join Rock the Vote Washington Director Hans Riemer and some college students to assert that not all young people support the President's Social Security plan, and to use the Social Security calculator to look at how their future benefits could be cut.

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