William Novelli

The chief executive officer of AARP, William Novelli, was Monday's guest. AARP has 35 million members age 50 and older and is a leading player in the debate over reforming Social Security. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

On whether Social Security is in crisis, as President Bush and his predecessor, Bill Clinton, both have said:

"We do not think that Social Security is in a crisis. We do think that it has long-term problems and that if we address the problems now rather than later there will be a lot less pain involved."

On headlines framing the issue as 'Bush vs. AARP':

"We are not interested in confrontation with any party or any administration. We are interested in cooperation.... Having said that, we are dead set against carving private accounts out of Social Security money, and this is our No. 1 legislative agenda."

On why AARP opposes private accounts:

"There is a lot of risk already for people saving for retirement, and we don't need to add to that risk."

On Social Security as a generational issue:

"We are not interested in solutions that essentially stick our children and our grandchildren with the bill."

On claims that AARP is spending millions on ads to scare people:

"We are not scaring anybody. We feel that we are taking the responsible position. We feel we are informing our members - and younger workers."

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