John Snow Gets Personal and Private

In today’s Ask The White House, Jim from Colorado Springs took a ThinkProgress reader’s advice and asked: What is the difference between the personal account now proposed by President Bush and private accounts he was talking about a month ago?

In his non-answer, Treasury Secretary John Snow claimed: The President has always referred to personal accounts, but some often mischaracterize them as “private accounts.”

Sorry, Secretary Snow, but in reality, it’s the White House doing the mischaracterizing. Check the transcripts:

On 1/12/05, for example, the White House press briefing had “Social Security/Private Accounts” on the agenda.

In a briefing a month earlier, on 12/16/04, Bush said: “We need to see that the philosophy of private accounts applies to Medicare just as we’ve been talking about Social Security.” –

And on 9/14/04 he said: “I believe younger workers ought to be able to take some of their own money, set aside a personal savings account that will help Social Security fulfill its promise, a private account that they can call their own, a private account they can pass on to the next generation and a private account that Government can’t take away.”