Perry-Romney fight over Social Security could flare again Monday
September 9th, 2011
04:48 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry-Romney fight over Social Security could flare again Monday

Tampa, Florida (CNN) – A battle over Social Security between the top two contenders in the race for the GOP nomination that started at this week's presidential debate doesn't show any signs of quieting down, and a presidential debate Monday night in Florida could serve as the setting for round two in the clash.

On Monday, Sept. 12th, CNN will broadcast the "Tea Party Republican Debate," live from Tampa, Florida at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

It all started Wednesday night, at the debate at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the new guy in the race and the current frontrunner in the national polls, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the previous frontrunner in the GOP battle, sparred over jobs and social security.

At the debate, Perry stood by earlier comments that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and that it was a "monstrous lie" to tell young workers that the 74-year-old pension system would be there when they retire. Romney responded at the debate, and since then both candidates have swung at each other through email releases and on social media.

On Sean Hannity's national radio program, Romney went a step further than he did on stage Wednesday night, saying that "if we nominate someone who the Democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to Social Security, we would be obliterated as a party."

Perry's team fired back, noting that in Romney's policy book "No Apology," the former Massachusetts governor compared the management of Social Security to a felony.

And the Perry campaign started highlighting comments Romney made August 24 in Lebanon, New Hampshire, 11 days after Perry jumped into the race. At a campaign stop, Romney said "Republicans, like myself, are not gonna cut Social Security or Medicare for people who are retired or near retirement. And for the people who say we are, they are demagoguing an issue very much that harms America."

As for Romney's charge that Perry would possibly abolish the popular government program, Perry's team says that the Texas governor believes that Social Security must be protected for current beneficiaries and those nearing retirement age.

The two candidates will once again be standing side by side Monday night, at a CNN Tea Party Republican Debate. CNN and the Tea Party Express, a leading national tea party organization, are teaming up to put on the debate at the Florida State Fairgrounds just outside of Tampa, Florida.

The argument over Social Security could also draw in the other six candidates sharing the stage, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, who's making his third bid for the White House, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Godfather's Pizza CEO and radio talk show host Herman Cain, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and former Utah Gov. and former U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman.

While the debate is a GOP affair, Democrats are jumping on the disagreement between Romney and Perry over Social Security. Previewing her trip to Tampa to respond to the debate on Monday, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, made clear that the back drop for the debate, a state with a heavy senior population reliant on Social Security and Medicare, would figure prominently into the Democrat prebuttal plans and to their response to the debate itself.

"Now these candidates are coming to Florida – a state with a heavy senior and retiree population. Seniors don't want either Rick Perry or Mitt Romney's approach to dismantling Social Security," said Wasserman Schultz. "Ending Medicare and dismantling Social Security are curious positions for candidates campaigning in Florida – but that's exactly what these Republicans support and believe. At this debate and for the entirety of this campaign we'll make sure voters know it."

– Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

soundoff (190 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens wants it privatized (eliminated) even though he said he would protect it in last Wednesday's Battle of the Baggers. Perry, on the other hand, said it was a Ponzi scheme, and wants it eliminated. Other than he said, she said, that is not much of a fight.

    September 9, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    The secessionist and flip flopping twins are at it again. Yes, go to Florida and tell those seniors (some of whom might be teabaggers and they want the big bad government to stay away from their "entitlements") that you are taking away Medicare and Social Security. Be afraid of canes thrown at your ugly heads!
    BTW – I know the brow man who wanted to empower grandma by taking away her "entitlements" is not getting relected but was he paying attention during last night's presidential speech. Every time he was shown he was looking down. Is he one of these twits?

    September 9, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Perry-Romney fight over Social Security could flare again Monday"

    Good word choice. I tend to think of the GOP's partisan rhetorical nonsense as societal herpes myself. If only we had some salve...

    September 9, 2011 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  4. Voice of Reason

    Thanks Sniffit – i was thinking hemorrhoids, myself. Irriitating beyong belief, but basically harmless.

    Either way – these two cant run far from their records. They've come out and very publicly said that SS should be done away with. Perry called it a Ponzi scheme like three times in the debate the other night. Watch closely as they now try to walk backwards from their previous statements when they find out that there are a lot of votors out there who ARENT deluded Tea-Partiers, who see such rhetoric as both extremist and divisive.

    They've made their bed, now they gotta LIE in it.

    September 9, 2011 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I think 'fight' is much too strong of a word. Mittens and Ponzi Perry are nothing more than Tea Pansies.

    September 9, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  6. Mike from MN

    Perry should know better ... Jesus would not approve of his plans to eliminate Social Security.

    Romney should know better too ... Jesus would not approve of his worship of Joseph Smith.

    But let's just take Perry's lead ... no need for SS or Medicare when you can pray for help from Jesus.

    September 9, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. ted

    The GOP is dead if they stay with this 'kill social security' baloney. The GOP forgets that people contribute into SS and railroad retirement as do their employers all during their working lives and the people are entitled to get it back. That is what an entitlement is. But both of these morons as well as the rest of the right wing lunatics just want to get rid of it, put a horrible label on it or privatize it. Wrong answer. The government takes it and needs to effectively invest it and manage and pay it out when people retire. I am no supporter of the GOP, but I really hate them now. They are all about favoring corporations and rich and special interests. They hate the working stiffs.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 9, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "Thanks Sniffit – i was thinking hemorrhoids, myself. Irriitating beyong belief, but basically harmless. "

    YW...I went with herpes because it's virulent, painful, spreads when you behave in an unthinking manner and, well, a reoccuring nightmare.

    September 9, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. Ed Texas

    Perry is a career politician snake and total flip flopper. He thinks Social Security is unconstitutional and a "Ponzi scheme. That should go over well with Florida's Seniors and others who depend upon this program to survive. Hey Rick "Would Jesus give tax breaks to the rich or try to sustain the poor with minimum food/shelter and social security? Regarding the other Flip Flooper (Mitt), he doesn't have a chance in the Tea Bagging GOP since most don't consider him a true "Chirstian." They both claim to care about "leaving their children with this large amount of government debt" yet they don't seem to care about "leaving their children" a poluted environment and most like Hee Haw Perry thinks glabal warming is a hoax!

    September 9, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Over the Bush presidential debacle, and the destruction of American by the republicans under John Boner, we are learning that the GOP is made up of hateful tea-vangelists. Like the Westboro Baptist Church, they want to see the demise of the founding principles of the United States.

    September 9, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. thomas

    It will be Romney / Perry 2012
    tweedle dee and tweedle dumb !

    September 9, 2011 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  12. Four and The Door

    Seniors don't want either Rick Perry or Mitt Romney's approach to dismantling Social Security," said Wasserman Schultz. "Ending Medicare and dismantling Social Security are curious positions for candidates campaigning in Florida...
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Right now the greatest threat to Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance and every other federal government benefit program is our $15 trillion national debt which has just been downgraded. But then Obama wants to increase it by another $450 billion to try more of his economic expertise?!?! If she really had any concern over the government's ability to make good on a commitment to benefits she is confused about what the real threat is. We need to be bringing the debt level down, not up.

    September 9, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. vic , nashville ,tn

    Clock is ticking for Romney if he want be front runner again time for him to step up

    CNN debate is a best opportunity for him

    September 9, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. Out of Texas

    Forked tongue Perry keeps blowing his silent dog whistle to inform Wall Street if he is supported financially and elected, he will hand over the entire social security fund on a silver platter. Thus, allowing the crooks on Wall Street the privilege to ruthlessly plunder and pillage the fund like barbarians. Too bad that most Americans knows what that silent dog whistle sounds like.

    September 9, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    If a person pays into a program their entire working career, why would an ignorant teabagger call the program a 'federal government program?' It was good when the misguided republicans added $5.5 trillion to the national debt with unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts and unfunded bank bailouts, but now they expect everyone but the wealthy and big corporations to pay for republican ineptness. Hoover felt that the correct course was massive cuts to bring the debt down, and that ensuing depression now seems to be the goal of the republicans.

    September 9, 2011 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Four and the Door wrote:
    We need to be bringing the debt level down, not up
    --------------------
    But, we don't want to do it at the risk of killling jobs, which reduces revenue, which raises the annual deficit higher. Recent statistics say that Republican attacks on against unions has cost as much as one million jobs. Federal spending cuts will cost at least another million at the pace Republicans are cutting. I guess this is the Republican jobs plan.

    September 9, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  17. Blame Will Not Work

    Well, all you "wish we had something good to show for 2 years, Obambi Lovers" know good & well what our new President, Rick Perry was saying! The way SS has been & still goes is the same as a PONZI scheme.......as was originally intended from beginning, was good.......but has been robbed from......Perry is NOT saying do away w/SS, or even privatize it......he IS saying, let's make it better, put it back into the intended Lock Box!
    But, all of you know that......you are still stuck on " hope & change" hoping the economy & people's minds will change prior to the 2012 election......but, they will NOT! Face facts; there's no one left to blame, Obambi is in over his head, always has been! A speech read from an ObambiPrompter will work no more! Soon will Palladin & Sniffit, along w/all other welfare takers will be forced to go to (here it comes, Dems most dreaded word) WOR

    September 9, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. Un Hombre

    Perry is just another slash-and-burn Teapublican who only wants only to destroy and not recycle, repair or build–and execute inmates. By talking that way about Social Security he instantly lost the elderly vote. He's been out in the TX sun without his cowboy hat way, way too long and has a terminal case of vacucranial palinitis.

    September 9, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Sylvia Saint

    Here`s a question I`d like to ask Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Paul to get them "on the record"

    Are you in favor of returning the FICA contributions that workers have made to them? We know exactly what they have contributed; why not just return it to them?

    If they say "YES" press them on how we pay current SS recipients.

    If they say "NO" ask them how we make sure they recieve the same lifetime payouts that the people that went before them get.

    No anti-Obama BS! Answer a real question, Present a REAL SOLUTION.

    September 9, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    Neither of which could care less about social security or YOU.

    September 9, 2011 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "But then Obama wants to increase it by another $450 billion to try more of his economic expertise?!?! "

    Absolutely...that's exactly why he demanded that the additional $450B be counterbalanced through additional cuts ON TOP OF the $1.5T in cuts the "super committee" is supposed to come up with. Sure sounds like he "wants to increase" the debt, huh? LIAR.

    September 9, 2011 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Conservatives blaming President Obama for republican ineptness will not work. We stood in shock and awe at the republican attempts to destroy our economy and republicans refused to acknowledge the 8 million jobs lost in Bush's last three years. The economy was 'cratering' long before Obama was sworn in. By the way, 50 million uninsured Americans got a dose of real 'hope and change' yesterday with the appeals court threw out the republican challenge to affordable health care.

    September 9, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    "Recent statistics say that Republican attacks on against unions has cost as much as one million jobs. "

    I repeat: "Mission Accomplished"

    September 9, 2011 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  24. Four and The Door

    Rudy NYC
    But, we don't want to do it at the risk of killling jobs, which reduces revenue, which raises the annual deficit higher. Recent statistics say that Republican attacks on against unions has cost as much as one million jobs. Federal spending cuts will cost at least another million at the pace Republicans are cutting.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Most of the jobs lost by Federal government spending reductions are government jobs. Yes, let's lose as many of them as we can get away with! We need jobs that actually help the American economy. Private sector jobs. The best thing the federal government can do to help create private jobs is to stop being such a large tax burden on businesses so that American companies can be more competitive globally. This is how we put Americans back to work with jobs that earn enough money to make a living with. And a well performing American economy is how the government makes serious revenues, not by overtaxing a poorly performing economy.

    September 9, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    The biggest damage to the SSI fund came during the Reagan years. Speaking about the surpluses in the fund, he announced that, "This is not the government's money. It is the people's money." And then proceeded to give billions of tax cuts to the wealthy. He paid out SSI checks worth tens of thousands of dollars annually. He broke it. He goofed it up so bad that he and Tip O'Neil had to reach a compromise to fix it, and stop the drain on the system. Force the federal government to pay back that which it had "borrowed" on a permanent basis.

    September 9, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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