President George W. Bush's attempt to reform Social Security in 2005 provides an opportunity to test the effects of presidential rhetoric on public support. I analyze survey data taken before and after President Bush's public campaign and I utilize a survey experiment conducted in May 2005 to measure the effects of his public campaign on support for his Social Security proposal. My analysis separates members of President Bush's core constituents from the general public. My findings show that, in general, support for the proposal declined after the public campaign, but that the public campaign successfully increased support for the Social Security proposal among President Bush's core constituents. I argue that modern presidents use the `bully pulpit' to speak to their core supporters.
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