The Note: Follow The Money

Bill Clinton's health+Elisabeth Bumiller's pen=front page of the New York Times. LINK

The consensus diagnosis of all the experts consulted by the media: a rare condition, relatively unrisky surgery.

The Washington Post's David Brown explains President Clinton's heart procedure planned for tomorrow. LINK

The Los Angeles Times' Josh Getlin and Karen Kaplan Note that Sen. Hillary Clinton will be with her husband at the hospital. LINK

Social Security: the politics:

The Washington Post's Mike Allen reports that Sen. Lindsey Graham said in an ed board meeting with the Post that Republicans erred in pushing so hard for individual investment accounts, creating a fight over a "sideshow." LINK

A caustic, must-read Wall Street Journal editorial blasts the idea of add-on accounts, wondering why on earth Republicans would want to add anything to a huge entitlement?

Those who blithely assume that there is a compromise hovering out there just waiting for the passage of time to emerge need to read this cautionary tale.

At the same time, personal accounts aren't flying with voters, Republican pollsters told their party's House members yesterday. LINK

Bloomberg's Dick Keil details Vice President Cheney's growing role in selling Social Security reform, with "10 to 15 trips . . . over the next six weeks . . . "

Keil says one Cheney stop will be a town meeting with Chairman Bill Thomas

"Suzanne Granville, who is coordinating the AFL-CIO's campaign opposing Bush's plan, said in an interview she `would never underestimate Dick Cheney on the road, trying to sell their programs.'"

On the other hand, Keil gets at least one person to say Cheney will not help:

"'To get this done, the president is going to need Democrats, and the vice president is one of the most divisive political figures in America,' said strategist Joe Lockhart, who was press secretary to President Bill Clinton and a top adviser to Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the Democrat Bush defeated last year. `It's the wrong messenger.'"

The Los Angeles Times' Warren Vieth looks at the dueling Social Security ads on the air by TrueMajority (spending $54,000 to run for a week in the district of Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Washington) and Progress for America (spending $2 million to run for three weeks on national cable), which follow the $10 million the AARP has spent on full-page ads in national and regional newspapers. LINK

The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus heard something she liked in the "progressive indexing" plan for Social Security proposed by Bob Pozen, a registered Democrat, chairman of MFS Investment Management and a former vice chairman of Fidelity Investments Inc., who served on President Bush's Social Security commission and former economic adviser of Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Personal accounts are a "sweetener," he says, but don't help the program's solvency, and he doesn't favor raising the retirement age. LINK

The Washington Post's E.J. Dionne claims that President Bush is so far looking at a tough hand on Social Security because he hasn't laid his cards on the table. LINK

The New York Times' Eduardo Porter reviews the legacy of Social Security and puzzles out who might win and who might lose if President Bush gets his way. It's not as simple as both parties would have it. LINK

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