White House Watch by Dan Froomkin

On the Road Again

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, May 3, 2005; 11:21 AM

According to the polls, the more people hear what President Bush has to say about Social Security, the less they like it. But that's not stopping him. He jets off to Mississippi today to hold another "conversation on strengthening Social Security."

Susan Page writes in USA Today that the latest Gallup poll shows a whopping 58 percent of Americans now disapprove of how Bush is handling the Social Security issue.

Overall, Bush's approval rating was unchanged at 48 percent, with 49 percent disapproving.

And Page writes: "The idea he endorsed last week of 'progressive indexing' -- maintaining future benefits for low-income workers but reducing initial benefits for the middle-class and affluent -- was opposed by 54 percent - 38 percent."

Some 62 percent "say fixing Social Security will mean benefit cuts or tax increases. If they had to choose, 53 percent would choose higher taxes, 38 percent lower benefits."

Here are the complete poll results.

Bush speaks today around 1 p.m. EDT at the Nissan Motors plant in Canton, Miss.

Josee Valcourt writes in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger that Bush's visit will shut down the assembly lines for at least an hour.

At yesterday's briefing, press secretary Scott McClellan said we could expect some new language on Social Security from the president today.

"Q This new phase, is he basically going to the same kinds of places and saying the same things as he already was in the first 60 days?

"MR. McCLELLAN: Well, no, because we put forward some new proposals just last week in the press conference that the President believes ought to be part of any comprehensive solution."

Bush, in his statements Friday and Saturday, did not expand on Thursday night's brief and carefully scripted endorsement of progressive indexing.

CONTINUED     1                 >

© 2005 The Washington Post Company