And the local Rochester paper did a mini focus group on the President's appearance. LINK
"If President Bush got one point across during his talk Tuesday on Social Security, it's that there is a problem and it needs to be fixed."
"But when he laid out his plan for allowing workers to voluntarily invest a portion of their Social Security taxes, he turned off roughly half of the nine people who gathered at the Democrat and Chronicle to watch the speech on television and offer their opinions."
USA Today's Richard Benedetto takes a good look at how grassroots protesters have gotten more sophisticated as they follow President Bush from event to event -- not just on the ground, but also using local media. LINK
Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin will meet privately with House Democrats today to talk about the fight over revamping Social Security, Roll Call reports.
The politics of abortion:
In today's Manchester Union Leader, John DiStaso discusses the dart-throwing by a pair of abortion rights organizations at Granite State Attorney General Kelly Ayote, whose job could be in jeopardy with the recent appeal of the parental notification bill. It is speculated, however, that the current (pro-choice) New Hampshire governor will likely base his decision on whether to renominate Ayote on more substantive factors than who shouts loudest in his ear. LINK
House of Labor:
In an interview yesterday with Gannett, Teamster President James Hoffa broke ranks with the Democratic Party and the AFL-CIO, praising President Bush for starting a national conversation on Social Security and urging Democrats to compromise with Republicans on comprehensive legislation to fix it.
Hoffa doesn't favor personal accounts and doesn't want to raise the retirement age and, it's true, the Teamsters have large problems with multiemployer pensions, but it's the first time we know of that a major labor leader has bucked the trend on this issue.
Hoffa's Teamsters are one of a half dozen major unions who have good working relationships with Republicans, and several unions -- including the one that first endorsed John Kerry least year -- have publicly called on the labor movement to look beyond the confines of the Democratic Party and begin to work more closely with GOPers on legislation. Hoffa was a guest of the President at the 2002 State of the Union address as he lobbied the administration to relax the consent decree under which the Teamsters have operated for years.
Hoffa's pronouncement will likely stir recriminations and much outrage from unions like AFSCME who are linked, lock, stock and barrel, with the Democratic leadership. AFSCME and other unions are spending millions to back outside groups opposed to Social Security privatization/personal accounts.
The Teamsters are one of several major AFL-CIO unions who have formed a coalition opposed to what they see as stagnant leadership of the labor movement.
"The mayor has made a second television buy, totaling $1,237,000, of commercials that start airing today and run through Memorial Day, said Joseph Mercurio, campaign consultant to Democratic mayoral candidate Virginia Fields."
"Mercurio, who has become the unofficial monitor of Bloomberg's commercial placements, said the mayor is spending $990,000 for broadcast TV, $195,000 on cable and $52,000 for Spanish-language TV," reports New York Post scribe David Seifman. LINK