Daily Briefing: SOTU Chattering Edition

Bush details proposed overhaul of Social Security, celebrates advancements in Iraq, and seeks to streamline inefficient government programs: "We are all part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings." [WP, NYT, LAT, WSJ, USAT, WT]

Bush describes Social Security plan as fiscally responsible, not radical; legislative skills will be tested in process. [WP, NYT, LAT]

Proposed Social Security changes include lowering benefits for future retirees; raising retirement age; capping benefits for rich retirees; and tying benefits to prices, not wages. [WP, NYT, WT]

Senior administration officials admit private accounts will not keep system solvent; Bush stays positive. Question remains: how? [LAT, WSJ, USAT]

Reid: "The president's plan is so dangerous. . . it's wrong to replace the guaranteed benefit that Americans have earned with a guaranteed benefit cut of 40 percent or more. Make no mistake, that's exactly what President Bush is proposing." [NYT, LAT, USAT, USAT, WT]

In Laura's box, Iraqi woman spontaneously hugs mother of fallen marine; Bush turns emotional. [WT]

Several moderate Republicans pass opportunity to cheer Bush on. Instead, Snowe "smiled uncomfortably and re-crossed her legs." Kerry, meanwhile, "was frowning in concentration," then "relaxed his features into a mask of cheerful complacency." [WP, NYT]

Laura to lead effort to "show young men an ideal of manhood that respects women and rejects violence." Bush calls for "special training for defense counsel in capital cases" and declares, "taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely, or not at all." [NYT, LAT, LAT]

Bush keeps focus on Middle East, vows to increase financial support to Palestine: "The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace is within reach, and America will help them achieve that goal." [NYT, LAT]

Agenda takes fiscal goals on a run. [LAT]

Bush wants immigration laws reformed, says "guest-worker" program is a priority. [WT]

Breathing examples of policies available under the dome. [NYT]

Brownstein: Bush "hinted at more flexibility than he has typically displayed." [LAT]

Shales: "Bush looked alternately ebullient and determined, with little gestures of cockiness popping up now and then." [WP]


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