The Note: Carving Out the Carve-Outs?

The Wall Street Journal's Jackie Calmes leads the paper with a brisk must-read overview of the state of play, with a focus on whether it is possible to thread the needle and come up with some add-on accounts (instead of carve outs) that would bring (some) Democrats to the table and not alienate conservatives.

The AARP's Rother sees add-ons as "the only possible deal," while Rep. Emanuel and 40/41 Treasury official Bruce Bartlett cast the Snow remarks as surrender.

The Los Angeles Times' Warren Vieth and Richard Simon detail the President's 60-day, 60-stop tour to push his Social Security plan, and highlights Grassley. LINK

Bloomberg's Jeff Bliss and Brendan Murray blare that lawmakers are all about presidential compromise at this point.

And, despite the headline ("Social Security sales job gears up"), there's a bit of an "even Judy Keen" to USA Today's lead story. LINK

The Washington Times' James Lakely and Stephen Dinan write that the relatively general Social Security plan President Bush has offered has allowed Democrats to hammer the idea of private accounts and gain traction in opposing them. LINK

House Speaker Hastert is all too willing to let Senate Majority Leader Frist take the lead on passing the Social Security overhaul first. LINK

Social Security: the policy:

The Washington Post's Christopher Lee does his turn in the "The TSP differs greatly from Bush's plan" trench. LINK.

We do like his stylish lede, tho: "The federal Thrift Savings Plan is to individual Social Security accounts what fashion runway attire is to personal wardrobe: an attractive model, but in the wider world things just don't fit quite the same way."

The Wall Street Journal's ed board says that the Administration needs to play the "ownership" card much more centrally and forcefully (the solvency card be darned) and that the amount that can be diverted to personal accounts should be larger. We leave it to experts to predict what the White House will think of those two pieces of advice.

Next door, former Bush officials Greg Mankiw and Phillip Swagel have a clever op-ed, filled with "advice" for how Democrats should handle this debate. We leave it to experts to predict if Democrats at this point will think they need a new plan.

On B1, the Wall Street Journal's Matt Moffett has a lively profile of Chilean Jose Pinera, one of the godparents of personal/private accounts.

Bush agenda:

The New York Times' Edmund Andrews Notes Alan Greenspan's dire deficit warnings, his support for dealing with Social Security NOW but also his less than encouraging words for new tax cuts: ""It's the principle that I think is involved here, namely that you cannot continuously introduce legislation which tends to expand the budget deficit,' Mr. Greenspan said." LINK

Noting the long-standing Fed/Administration disagreement about PayGo, Andrews then writes that "House and Senate lawmakers are hoping to unveil a budget resolution as early as next week, and many Republicans want to include provisions that would allow the Senate to approve tax cuts this year with a simple majority of 51 votes. Without a budget resolution, Senate rules effectively require that such tax cuts be approved by a two-thirds majority."

An interview with Karl Rove on the Texas TV program "Special Session" begins airing tonight on various Lone Star State stations.

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