- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 23, 2005

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow said yesterday that the Bush administration has not succeeded in selling its plan for Social Security to Americans and that backers would continue traveling the nation to educate people about the program’s problems.

President Bush has traveled to eight states to conduct campaign-style Social Security events, stressing that the system faces long-term financial straits. Supporters in Congress, armed with Republican Party-prepared materials, are holding meetings with constituents across the country this week to try to build support.

Wavering members of Congress are holding similar meetings to gauge public opinion.

Mr. Snow is traveling this week to Florida to campaign for the Bush plan.



He said yesterday that he understands Congress has been leery about creating personal accounts as part of Social Security, as Mr. Bush has proposed.

“We still have some work to do,” Mr. Snow said.

He predicted opinions will change as people learn more.

“We’re at the early stages of this education process and engagement process,” Mr. Snow told reporters. He said the administration is going to “hit this hard” and wants to “get the facts out.”

The aim of the stepped-up campaign, he said, is to “engage with the American people on the fundamentals of Social Security.”

Mr. Snow said he and other administration officials would emphasize Social Security’s long-term financial problems and why young people should have the ability to divert some of their payroll taxes into personal accounts, which could be invested in the stock market and build over time.

For his part, Mr. Snow plans events in Florida at the Chamber of Commerce in Tampa today and the Chamber of Commerce in Jacksonville tomorrow.

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