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FDR LIBRARY STAFF EASES RULES FOR PARTISAN FORUM

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library changed course and said a forum on Social Security could be held at the site after all.

Administrators of the Hudson Valley site created a stir last week when they told community organizers they would have to include someone speaking in favor of President Bush's call for partial privatization of Social Security or find a new home for the forum. Library director Cynthia Koch told the women's groups sponsoring the April 9 event that the federal site could not be used for partisan events.

Organizers complained that the library was squelching free speech.

On Tuesday, Koch said U.S. Archivist Allen Weinstein had decided to invite the groups to return their forum to the site. He encouraged them to add a speaker in favor of privatization, but stopped short of requiring it, she said.

Forum organizers said they have already found a new home for the event and won't change it again. But they were happy for the change of heart.

"I feel democracy is alive and well in the United States," said Eleanor Charwat, of the local League of Women Voters. "I was getting a little worried."

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