President Back in Arkansas Today

FEBRUARY 4, 2005 - Posted at 7:46 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - President Bush plans to spread the word during a visit to Little Rock today about his proposals to revamp Social Security.  But those proposals have met with skepticism or outright opposition from some Arkansans.  Bush plans to speak in Little Rock's Robinson Auditorium at mid-day after flying in from appearances in North Dakota and Montana.

The White House says the president will dicuss his plan to privatize a portion of the nation's Social Security system.  But community activists and organized labor criticized the plan yesterday.  They said privatizing what they called the most successful social program in the nation's history would destroy Social Security and rip away the safety net for millions of elderly Americans, especially blacks.

Johnny Pugh, a Little Rock city director and member of Arkansas Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, said at a Capitol news conference that there is no emergency, as Bush claims.  Pugh said there's not a need to privatize Social Security and cut benefits.

Governor Mike Huckabee and Republican legislators countered later with a show of support for a presidential plan that the governor said would personalize, not privatize, the system.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)