Transcript: Democratic Response to Bush's Weekly Radio Address


Good morning, and happy new year to those of you celebrating Rosh Hashanah. I'm Ed Perlmutter from Colorado and I'm proud to be joined here today by my parents.

My fellow Americans, the fight to protect Social Security is back.

Republicans from George Bush to Karl Rove to the Republicans in Congress have pledged, as recently as this month, to put Social Security back on the agenda early in 2007.

When Republicans say they are going to reform Social Security, they mean they are going to privatize it, and by privatizing it they'll cut the guaranteed monthly benefit we have promised generations of Americans.

We can and we must stop them — right now, before it's too late.

Just last year, Democrats stood up to President Bush and the Republicans in Congress, and fought back against this dangerous proposal and defeated it.

It was defeated because the overwhelming majority of Americans know how risky it is to privatize Social Security. The GOP scheme would threaten senior citizens who worked hard, played by the rules, and simply seek to live their golden years with some financial stability and security.

Republicans in Congress have been consistent rubber stamps for the misguided policies of the Bush administration. Not only do they want to privatize Social Security, they are raiding the Social Security trust fund as well.

Let me give you an idea of where their priorities lie. At the same time that they are taking money from the trust fund that seniors and people with disabilities depend on, they are sending billions of dollars to special interests in giveaways that taxpayers are paying for. They are preventing Medicare from negotiating for lower drug prices and are doing nothing to stop oil companies from gouging Americans at the gas pump.

There has never been a more critical moment to ensure that we take our nation in a new direction.

My opponent and his Republican friends in Washington must be fans of the TV show Jeopardy. Because that's the position they'll put seniors in if they succeed in their plan to privatize Social Security.

Seniors all over America rely on Social Security every month and if the GOP plan passes, future generations could see their benefits slashed.

In my congressional district here in Colorado, there are nearly 82,000 Social Security recipients. Both here, and across the country, the number of retirees is expected to climb even higher in the next several years, making this fight to protect Social Security even more important.

Democrats are fighting to protect Social Security and future retirees are counting on us to succeed.

In the last 11 years, my opponent, like Republicans in Congress, has demonstrated very dangerous positions on Social Security. In 1995, when he worked for Newt Gingrich, he advocated "slaying" Social Security, and even called it "un-American."

Let me be clear: committing ourselves to retirement security is about as American as Congress can get.

In 1995, my opponent advocated abandoning seniors and today he is abandoning the truth. I will not cut benefits for retirees and in Congress, I will fight to guarantee retirement security for seniors here in Colorado and all across the country.

Right now, on issues ranging from Medicare to gas prices, college tuition and the war in Iraq, President Bush and Republicans in Congress are taking us in the wrong direction. We need new leadership in Washington to right our course so that our government gets back to the business of fighting for families.

If you are like most Americans, and you want to change the direction our country is headed in, you have to start by changing the people you send to Congress. That is why this election is so very important.

When I get to Washington I will continue the fight that I have waged for families here in Colorado. I will work hand-in-hand with Democrats and Republicans to try to heal the partisan divide raging in Congress because seniors and their families are counting on us.

I'm Ed Perlmutter of Colorado, thanks for listening.