LuntzWatch: Bush Press Conference Loaded with LuntzSpeak

Over at, Frank O’Donnell notes that President Bush “has obviously been well-coached on the Luntz language, as evidenced by last night’s performance.” O’Donnell documents several instances where Bush’s remarks on energy policy mirrored the deceptive talking points found in Luntz’s latest briefing book.

But the right-wing strategist’s Orwellian fingerprints could be found on much more than Bush’s energy talk. His remarks on Social Security were also infused with spin from Luntz’s “Social Security Step Language Ladder.”

Luntz recommendation: “To achieve ‘generation fairness,’ we have a responsibility to save Social Security RIGHT NOW so that our children and generations to come receive the same benefits we have enjoyed.”Bush: “As a matter of fairness, I propose that future generations receive benefits equal to or greater than the benefits today’s seniors get.”

Luntz: “Improving our Social Security system CANNOT be a partisan issue. We must all work together and put the partisan bickering behind us.”Bush: “Too often the temptation in Washington is to look at a major issue only in terms of whether it gives one political party an advantage over the other. Social Security is too important for politics as usual.”


Luntz: “Current and near retirees must KNOW their benefits are secure. … You must reassure them their benefits will be there when they retire, and MOST IMPORTANTLY will not be reduced by this proposal.”Bush: “As we fix Social Security, some things won’t change. Seniors and people with disabilities will get their checks. All Americans born before 1950 will receive the full benefits.”

Luntz: “It would be easier to turn away and leave the tough decisions to others down the road. But we do things in life not because they are easy but because they are necessary — no matter bow hard they are. And delay just makes the solution more difficult and costly.”Bush: “People will say, You didn’t need to bring this up, Mr. President; it may cost you politically. I don’t think so. I think the American people appreciate somebody bringing up tough issues, particularly when they understand the stakes. The system goes broke in 2041. In 2027, for those listening, we’ll be obligated to pay $200 billion more a year than we take in in order to make sure the baby boomers get the benefits they’ve been promised. In other words, this is a serious problem.”