Bush?s ?State of the Union? to Focus on Social Security and War in Iraq

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Immediately after the November election, Rowan University political science professor and presidential scholar Dr. Larry Butler predicted that Social Security would be one of the first big fights on t
Rowan Political Science Professor Available for Media Commentary

Immediately after the November election, Rowan University political science professor and presidential scholar Dr. Larry Butler predicted that Social Security would be one of the first big fights on the horizon during President Bush?s second term. Proven correct in that assumption, he now believes the president?s February 2 ?State of the Union? will further Bush?s efforts to gain support for his plan to reform Social Security.

?In political circles, Social Security is known as ?the third rail of American politics,? so highly sensitive that like the electrically charged third rail of a train track, touching it can end political lives,? said Butler. ?Bottom line?the president is going to have a difficult time rallying Republican and Democratic members of Congress to make changes to Social Security system. Even so, he?ll use the State of the Union to make an appeal to the American people and Congress to do just that.?

Butler also believes the ?State of the Union? will focus heavily on the ?State of the War? in Iraq. Normally held in January, the State of the Union address was strategically pushed back to February this year, leaving the president time to frame his comments based on the outcome of the January 30 elections in Iraq, Butler said. ?Polls show that the escalating violence and loss of American lives in Iraq in the run-up to the elections took their toll on Americans? support for the war,? he said. ?President Bush will try to use the apparently successful elections to recapture public support by arguing that we are making progress toward creating a free Iraq.?

Dr. Larry Butler is the author of Claiming the Mantle: How Presidential Nominations Are Won and Lost Before the Votes Are Cast (Westview Press). He holds a doctoral degree in politics from Princeton University, master?s degrees in political science and economics from George Washington University and George Mason University, respectively, and a bachelor?s degree in economics from Washington & Lee University. As assistant professor of political science at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J., Butler teaches courses in American government, Congress, campaigns and elections, the Presidency, political science research methods, and political parties and interest groups.

To arrange interviews with Dr. Butler before or after the Wednesday, February 2, ?State of the Union? address, contact the Rowan University Relations Department at 856-256-4583 or carver@rowan.edu.

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