PRIVATIZING SOCIAL SECURITY…. Barack Obama is scheduled to appear this afternoon, via satellite, at a national AARP event, and he’s apparently prepared to take on John McCain’s position on Social Security. From the prepared remarks:

“[S]ecuring your future starts with protecting Social Security — today, tomorrow and forever. Now, John McCain said that the way Social Security works is, and I quote, ‘an absolute disgrace.’ Wrong. For millions of Americans, it’s the very difference between a comfortable retirement and falling into poverty. More than half of seniors depend on it for more than half of their income. And as the first baby boomers become eligible for benefits this year, there are steps we can take to secure its future for generations to come.

“That doesn’t mean embracing George Bush’s failed privatization scheme, as John McCain has. Privatizing Social Security was a bad idea when George Bush proposed it, and it’s a bad idea today. It would take the one rock-solid, guaranteed part of your retirement income and gamble it on the stock market. That’s why I stood with AARP against this plan in the Senate, and that’s why I won’t stand for it as President.”

The Associated Press, solidifying its position as the McCain campaign’s favorite news outlet, tried to do a little fact-checking, and reported, “Obama also said McCain wants to privatize a portion of Social Security. McCain has praised the notion of letting younger workers place a portion of their Social Security taxes into a package that is invested and follows them to retirement, but he has not made it a campaign promise.”

That’s a very odd defense. McCain has said Social Security should be privatized. He’s called the structure of the Social Security system an “absolute disgrace.” He’s publicly endorsed the Bush privatization plan. And it’s a key part of his party’s 2008 platform.

But McCain “has not made it a campaign promise”? It’s a key policy debate and McCain has made his position abundantly clear. He wants to privatize the system, and Obama doesn’t. What difference does it make whether the Republican nominee has “promised” to do what he says should be done?

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.