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Friday, February 04, 2005

Maryland Happenings

This morning's CongressDailyAM includes a writeup on Ben Cardin's recent Social Security speech and Kweisi Mfume's interest in returning to Maryland politics.
Cardin Takes Dems' Case To Seniors
ODENTON, Md. -- Rep. Benjamin Cardin, D-Md., stood before a crowd of concerned seniors Thursday and came very close to calling the president of the United States a liar.
"The president said he's not going to do anything until people are 55 and older," Cardin said, regarding President Bush's Social Security overhaul proposals, the topic of his remarks at the O'Malley Senior Center here.
"But changing the cost of living adjustment affects you, it affects people getting disability checks, it affects everyone," Cardin continued. "It's going to affect your benefit and it will certainly affect younger workers."
Only about 12 hours earlier, Bush in his State of the Union speech had declared to millions of Americans: "I have a message for every American who is 55 or older: Do not let anyone mislead you. For you, the Social Security system will not change in any way."
Cardin touched on potent themes congressional Democrats hope will be sufficient to waylay the president's plans: The Social Security system is healthy and it is able to pay benefits far into the future, while the president's plan is risky and will result in deep benefit cuts.


Mfume Returns To The Hill, And Apparently Wants To Stay
Former Rep. Kweisi Mfume, D-Md., wants to return to Congress, a quest that might have begun with his glad-handing appearance at Wednesday night's State of the Union address.
As the House chamber filled in preparation for President Bush's speech, the center of activity on the Democratic side appeared to be Mfume's seat, the same seat he has occupied for 17 of the last 18 State of the Union addresses.
Mfume -- who said he was too sick to attend last year's speech -- represented a Baltimore district in the House from 1986-1996, when he resigned to take over the presidency of the NAACP.
Having resigned from that post in January, Mfume said Thursday, "I think it's clear to most people that I have for some time expressed a desire to return to the Congress if I'm fortunate enough to ever get re-elected."