Saturday, April 23, 2005

Troubles mount in White House, Bush agenda bogged down

Apr. 22, 2005

Troubles mount in White House, Bush agenda bogged down
By William Douglas, James Kuhnhenn and Steven Thomma
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - President Bush painted his second-term vision in bold, aggressive strokes: He would reform Social Security, continue to reshape the nation's education system and remodel the nation's judiciary by appointing more conservative judges to the federal bench.
"I've earned capital in this election and I'm going to spend it for what I told the people I'd spend it on: Social Security, tax reform, moving the economy forward, education and winning the war on terrorism," Bush told reporters two days after he won re-election.
Three months into his second term, however, Bush's bold agenda is bogged down by public skepticism about some of his proposals, growing resistance from Democrats, dissension within his party's ranks and what some analysts consider second-term hubris.
With gas prices near record highs and stock markets jittery, Bush's drive for privatized Social Security accounts has been met by deep public skepticism. His judicial nominees are stalled, his choice for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations is stuck in committee, and his job-approval rating recently dropped to 45 percent, the lowest of his presidency and well below that of other recent second-term presidents.....