"Bush will streamline his message on the two issues White House strategists blame for the president's lower-than-ever poll numbers. 'In the coming weeks, the president will sharpen his focus on the two big issues facing the American people: growing our economy and winning the war,' (Dan) Bartlett said."
"A top White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Bush is not dropping Social Security, but believes he needs to show voters he has a plan to lower gasoline prices and prevail in Iraq. 'These are two powerful forces' shaping views of Bush, the official said."
"Bush, however, offers a generally optimistic view of Iraq that aides say comes from what he sees as substantial long-term progress. The president considers the January elections that allowed the United States to turn over more control of security one of the biggest triumphs of the broader battle against terrorism. He also believes the Iraqis are moving closer to a deal to form a new government and are creating a functioning security force that will eventually allow the United States to pull out."
"Bush has no plans to change his upbeat assessment of Iraq, where fresh waves of attacks since the beginning of last month have killed nearly 100 Americans and many more Iraqis. Vice President Cheney recently said the insurgency is in its 'last throes,' an assertion he did not back away from when asked this week, contradicting reports that Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) and Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) brought back from a trip to Iraq."
About all this, a senior Administration official who makes it a point to read the Washington Post early each day tells The Note that Sen./Dr./leader Frist and Karl Rove have NOT talked about an exit strategy. And that the notion of significant internal disagreement in the White House is "way too" overplayed.
The official is aware that some leadership aides may want to press Frist to call for one, but says that the White House continues to work closely with Sen. Grassley and Rep. Bill Thomas, and believes that both lawmakers are committed to bringing a bill to the floor. And the President's commitment to personal accounts as part of the plan to enhance the program's long-term solvency remains firm, this official said.
Well -- today Iraq and Social Security will have to wait as Mr. Bush kicks off what the White House is calling a "massive nationwide public health outreach campaign" to educate Americans about the new prescription drug benefit available for seniors through Medicare beginning in 2006, reports ABC News' Karen Travers.
White House officials said that from now through May 2006, the Bush Administration (White House, HHS, and public health officials) will be working to make sure every senior, particularly low income seniors, are aware of the prescription drug benefit and enrolls.
In remarks at 1:15 pm ET at the Department of Health and Human Services, Bush will talk about the progress that was made for health care for seniors and promote the choices and benefits available to them under the Medicare Modernization Act.
President Bush will talk with seniors at the Maple Grove Community Center in Minnesota on Friday about those choices, but this campaign is not just aimed at older Americans.