Former Iowa football coach Hayden Fry has become a spokesperson for a group backing President Bush’s Social Security reform package. “There’s not any question that Social Security at this point has some real problems and the President and his advisors are making a strong effort to correct it before it becomes so critical that we don’t have Social Security,” Fry says. Fry is a long-time friend of the Bush family. Fry has known former President Bush and his wife, Barbara, since World War II. Fry introduced then-Governor George W. Bush to Iowans in 1999 during the younger Bush’s first trip to Iowa as a candidate for President. “I’ve been active behind the scenes with my friendship because I truly believe in the president and what he’s trying to do,” Fry says. Fry, who served as Iowa’s football coach from 1979 to 1988, has signed on with “Progress for America” as it targets Democrat Senator Tom Harkin as Harkin intends to hold public meetings in Iowa on Social Security this Saturday and Sunday. Fry says he likes the President’s idea of personal savings accounts for younger workers, so they can invest part of their Social Security taxes. Fry says it’ll motivate younger workers to study the stock market, which he says will be “educational,” and he says it will allow people to leave a Social Security “nest egg” to their descendants. Fry compares the situation with Social Security to when he was coaching the Hawkeyes and a play didn’t work. “I had a special guy about 20 rows up behind my bench, about 6′ 4″, 300 pounds, bib overalls, straw hat and he’d cup his hands around his mouth and yell ‘Fry, you dummy,'” Fry says. “In all probability, he’s never had a jock strap on in his life.” Fry says President Bush and his advisors know the Social Security system is going bankrupt, and it’s time to correct the problem. “It’s like me having a bad play in my offense or a bad defense, if it’s not working, I need to correct it,” Fry says. “I throw it out and move on.” Jason Besler, a “30-something” Republican lawyer from Cedar Rapids, intends to go to Harkin’s meeting on Social Security in Cedar Rapids. Besler says he’s concerned that people like Harkin aren’t working with the President, but are attacking “and trying to score political points.” Besler, who voted for President Bush, says he’s concerned that if nothing’s done, Social Security won’t be there for his parents when they retire. “I’m glad that Senator Harkin is acknowledging the problem in Social Security, but I’m just going to be there to encourage Senator Harkin to remember that it’s not enough just to acknowledge the problem, but also we have to start working on solutions,” Besler says.
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