The Note: Special Relationships

On Saturday morning, "Good Morning America" weekend presents an interview with former President Bill Clinton on a vast and sundry array of topics. Mr. Clinton sat down with ABC News' Kate Snow this week to talk mainly about his initiative to reduce obesity in children, and they went from there.

Here's an excerpt from their conversation . Contrary to the strategy pursued by his wife's party in Congress, Clinton suggests that Democrats put forth a plan to enhance the solvency of the program. Still, since President Bush only very recently endorsed a specific approach to restraining benefits, Clinton says Democrats should not be blamed for not having a plan until now.

Snow: When you were President you talked about Social Security. In fact, you had a Social Security drive at one point to try to reform it. The President now is laying out some new ideas about how to keep it solvent and the Democrats have mostly been saying no, no, no. Do the Democrats need to move, do they need to compromise and negotiate with this president on Social Security?

Clinton: Well, I think they need to come up with a plan of their own. But I don't think it's fair to criticize them for not having done it now. I mean, when I was President it was my job to come up with plans, and if you are in the congressional majority it's your job. We are in the minority in both houses and we needed to wait until they made their proposal and come back. We didn't have a proposal until a couple days ago.

Snow: But they shouldn't just let it lie.

Clinton: No I think we shouldn't let it lie . . . I think the Democrats should say what they are for on Social Security in the next couple weeks; they got time to put together a program. I think it should include an opportunity for people to participate in savings and ownership uh, they don't have to do private accounts because they can't figure out how to borrow the money. . . . but I think that the Democrats should have a plan and they should talk to the President and the congressional Republicans about it.

Again, there's much more from that interview this Saturday on "Good Morning America."

The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel gives a thumbs-up to President Bush's Social Security convictions.

"The Social Security debate is often bogged down in dueling myths and incomprehensible arithmetic. The president's latest words are a reminder that this actually is a debate about the fundamental nature of America's most popular government program."

The Los Angeles Times' Warren Vieth and Sara Clarke wrap the cautiously interested views of some Latino leaders after President Bush's address yesterday. LINK

Ed Tibbetts writes in the Quad City Times that Sen. Chuck Grassley said Wednesday he thinks "the Democrats will have to be dragged to the table" on Social Security, and he intends to embarrass them into working on the issue. LINK

Abramoff, DeLay, travel, and ethics:

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