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Battle over Social Security heats up
Lobbying group USA Next launches new campaign to fight AARP, boost private accounts: report.
February 21, 2005: 10:17 AM EST

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - A group that has funneled millions of dollars into Republican policy battles is now taking on one of the nation's most powerful lobbying groups -- the AARP -- in the battle to overhaul Social Security, a news report said Monday.

The group, USA Next, plans to spend up to $10 million on commercials and other tactics to support the campaign for private Social Security accounts, which are adamantly opposed by AARP, the largest lobbying group representing middle-aged and senior Americans, the New York Times reported.

The AARP has already spent $5 million on print advertisements in major newspapers opposing private accounts and plans to spend another $5 million on a new print advertising campaign beginning this week, according to the paper.

"They are the boulder in the middle of the highway to personal savings accounts," Charlie Jarvis, Chairman & CEO of USA Next and former undersecretary for the interior in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, told the newspaper. "We will be the dynamite that removes them."

Jarvis said the group, which terms itself a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, considers itself to be a conservative, free market alternative to AARP.

USA Next said they were not working with the White House, according to the news report.

But it added that the conservative lobbying group affirmed it was working with some of the same consultants and advisors from last year's Swift Boat campaign, now known for launching inflammatory commercials attacking Sen. John Kerry's war record during the 2004 presidential race.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that the White House doesn't want anything to do with a group that is attacking the AARP," one USA Next official said, according to the paper.  Top of page


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