POLITICS
07/22/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Social Security Privatization: McCain's Achilles Heel?

It was a spectacular flop: a president making dozens of fruitless trips around the country to build support for a plan his own party's leadership refused to accept.

But President Bush's failed push to privatize Social Security has not deterred John McCain from putting forward the same idea -- and from risking a similar political disaster.

McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, spoke several times last week about changing how the popular retirement program is funded, at one point calling it a "disgrace" that younger workers are forced to pay for a plan that, in his view, is unlikely to benefit them when they retire.

Democrats are gearing up to turn McCain's stand on Social Security, and his willingness to consider a privatization plan, into a key campaign issue. They say changing the program in that way would undermine retirees' benefits, and they hope to use the issue to harm the Arizona senator's support among a set of voters who tilt toward him -- seniors.

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