Saturday's Democratic response to the presidential radio address was delivered by Terry McAuliffe, the outgoing chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
McAuliffe's tenure ends on Saturday, when the DNC will meet and choose Howard Dean to replace him.
The transcript of McAuliffe's remarks:
I'm Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
This week, President George W. Bush delivered his State of the Union address, and though he claimed our nation is strong, he did not and could not say that America is stronger today than it was four years ago.
Four years ago, when President Clinton left office, our nation was experiencing the longest economic expansion in our history. We had moved from record deficits to record surpluses. Unemployment was at a historic low and America was respected in the world.
But after four short years of Republican control, our economic growth has slowed. We've returned to the days of deficits and debt, and America is no longer seen as a beacon of freedom and progress.
And now these same Washington Republicans want to privatize Social Security. While Social Security faces challenges, Bush's privatization plan would make things worse.
Here's how: First, in order to pay for the creation of private accounts, Bush wants to borrow $2 trillion from foreign nations.
Secondly, Bush wants to cut benefits. How? He wants to change the way Social Security benefits are calculated, and by doing that, future retirees will see a nearly 50 percent cut in benefits compared to the current system. And that's whether you set up a private account or not.
And here's the worst part. Even after all those cuts and massive borrowing, private accounts would actually do nothing to help save Social Security. Don't take my word for it. Bush's own White House admitted that this week. In fact, private accounts would actually speed the insolvency of the program.
Benefit cuts, massive debt and more insecurity are not the type of drastic changes we need to make to our nation's retirement security.
Americans deserve better. After all, Social Security is not a handout. It's an earned benefit, one that every American pays into over his or her lifetime and one that every American deserves to get back -- guaranteed.
For our part, Democrats are for giving Americans more options and choices when it comes to retirement security and savings. And we agree there must be discussion about Social Security and the challenges that lie before us.
But according to the Congressional Budget Office, Social Security is solvent until 2052. And even after 2052, it still will not be bankrupt as the president has said. There's no dispute that Social Security faces problems down the road, and we must address that. But we have the time to do it right.
And that begins with telling the American people the whole truth. Bush's plan, as I've said, will force America to borrow $2 trillion from foreign nations, further increasing our national debt. It will also result in a guaranteed cut, and that's the truth.
Democrats want any plan to solve the Social Security challenge to be rooted in fiscal discipline with budgets that pay as we go. Democrats will insist that any change in the system not result in benefit cuts. And those two principles for the safety and security of America's seniors we will not yield.
Democrats will reach out. We will work across the aisle. But we will also hold feet to the fire and make the Washington Republicans accountable for their selfish agenda.
This is Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. And thank you for listening.