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. Proud member of "Global Zero"

    They both want to end Social Security and Medicare. I am going to be 53 tomorrow. After job loss in my family...savings are gone...401K is down because of the market. We do have new jobs but the pay and benefits are not the same. We do not have credit card debt but,,,,pay for 2 in college. What will I have left when I can no longer work because of age? These are programs we have paid into for decades. I will work so hard to make sure no one from the GOP will take this away from me and those my age.

    September 10, 2011 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  2. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    These wingnuts have been busted. They voted to end Medicare and the whole country knows that. They have Social Security in their sights next and 2012 will be ALL about that fact. They can run but they can't hide.They are so delusional that they think that they run on jobs,jobs,jobs again.

    September 10, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  3. SS a ponzi scheme

    It is and obama is a fool, all these politicians want is birth to grave taxes and in my life I have seen them steal it all, anyone of us would go to jail but these theives get away with it.

    September 10, 2011 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  4. Ashlyn

    By all means, Republicans, keep talking about your plans to reform*destroy* Social Security. The millions who have depended on this "Ponzi Scheme" for most or all of their income won't be at all alarmed. They'll still vote for you. And climate change and evolution and science are not real; otherwise they'd be in the King James Bible.

    September 10, 2011 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  5. John

    the GOP "debate" sounds more like a Pee Wee Herman movie.
    No it doesn't
    Yes it does
    No it doesn't
    Yes it does
    No it doesn't
    Yes it does

    I know you are but what am I?
    I know you are but what am I?
    I know you are but what am I?
    I know you are but what am I?

    September 10, 2011 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  6. clarke

    They really need to do something about the fraud in these programs. I don't know why they don't, but it sure save a lot of money. If I am not mistaken, Politians don't pay into FICA because they have there own retirement system, just like teachers. There is nothing wrong with that. I get 1200.00 a month, I pay 155 part B ded and then 200.00 to fill the gaps Medicare doesn't pay for after I have meet my 3500.00 Out of pocket. You do the math, I am thankful I can live with my daughter.

    September 10, 2011 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  7. Clwyd

    I just hope that the voters listen and answer more questions about thy Perry wants to have Senators appointed by governors, , why congress should have to power to overrule the Supreme court and what people will do if his anti-soc. Security speech continues? This man is a sick conservative from the far right1 My question from personal experience is why isn't there a clean lake in Texas fit to swim in?

    September 10, 2011 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  8. diridi

    Perry is out of question, because he is an idiot, Romney, I do not like his saying on Health Care, he wants to pass waiver on States. The Heath Care drafter is very smart, because of Public Option is not passed and hurdled by Joe Sestak, then Obama administration realized that it is a must, then they kept in the form of State Exchanges, when you do not like you BCBS, or Kaiser, charging more, you can go to state exchanges where all these senators and congressmen buy, you do. at cheaper prices....thus law is having good intention, now, i think yesterday, based on these factum valet, VA judges denied and upheld law. True, Romney needs to wake up, and change his tune on it to get elected. o.k, Also, we need stricter immigration;, and Reduce the number of immigrants too......for this nation's sake. Lot of India guys are cheating on it. Hospitals are cheating on it. Push more PAs, and NPs into system, in medicine. They are just fabulous.....god bless...

    September 10, 2011 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  9. SCAtheist

    Perry made sure he wasn't around to declare a disaster in Texas, so he wouldn't have to go through the embarrassment of accepting FEMA aid.

    Perry scorecard:

    Fires 100%
    Prayers zero.

    September 10, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. Bev

    perry did not say that he would get rid of social security he said that it will not be there for the younger generation the way thinkgs are going if it stays as it is no it will not be there for our children and as far as the herpes coment not everyone who has it acted in a bad way my ex-husband gave it to me & i was not loose now i live by myself because it would not be fair to be with someone 7 take a chance of them getting it so please do not judge people not everything is as it seems

    September 10, 2011 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. pdh

    EXCELLENT question, Sylvia Saint. I can tell you how Ron Paul, who in the recent MSNBC debate got twice as many votes as both of these "front runners" COMBINED would answer: He would bring the troops home, not just from our war zones, but from all 900 bases in 130 countries around the world. Once here, not only could the tremendous waste on the wars be saved, but all those people would now be spending their pay here instead of in other countries. The hundreds of billions of dollars saved through JUST THIS ONE THING ALONE would be a tremendous boost and the money could be used in social programs at home such as Social Security and instead of building embassies, roads, schools, infrastructure, and protecting borders in OTHER countries, their efforts could be used here instead. Not only that, when natural disasters occur, such as hurricanes and fires, the National Guard, whose job it is to help with such things, would be here to do just that instead of having all their people and equipment in other countries while our own people suffer not only from the natural disasters, but from the heavy hand of FEMA.

    September 10, 2011 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  12. Bobby

    These self centered and self serving so called representatives of the people can't agree or get along within the same party and they expect the people to vote them into office where they're going to have to make decisions with the Democrats?!?!? We don't have a chance as Americans with politicians such as these!!!

    September 10, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  13. diridi

    these guys are bunch of idiots. Perry is another Bush, and Donald Trump....a separator....o.k,

    September 10, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  14. roy

    Are they fueding about who is the wealthiest and pays the least income tax.

    September 10, 2011 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  15. 1776Liberal

    Until all the IOUs left by LBJ and Congresses since about 1965 to pay for annual operating expenses are paid off, Perry is correct that Social Security is effectively a Ponzi scheme with the criminals being our elected officials in DC.

    September 10, 2011 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  16. GSW Minnesota

    If these Republican boys were in a fishing boat on a lake and needed to pee, I am pretty sure they would miss the water. Bachmann would be confused about what her approach should be and just wet her pants.

    September 10, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  17. amarjeet

    Both Romney & Perry hinge on social benefits to eliminate to US citizens like other in GOP & Tea Party. It is disgraceful that none has come out with positive to exploit other resources of skills & technology to dissolve national debt & relieve American citizens from unemployment, increase national production sector & develop infrastructure & industry as well create transportation system for American people to move freely to even out search of opportunities, reduce cost of living & above ring in cultural integration with democratic equality in principles as given in Constitution of America. All these pseudo leaders of GOP & Tea Party are emerging with solutions of removing Obama & his healthcare programs with just political objectives which are primary sources to husband of Bachmann & support the antagonists in their business. Systems do not discriminate & just help the country to have sound governance. It is pathetic that Perry, Bachmann & Romney too do not have basic ingredients of unbiased leadership skills matching President Obama or even Mr. Bush who was aloof from such thoughts due to his religious beliefs & people of America seek from political aspirants.American do seek a leader who pprotects the existing systems & values rather than adding to American basket of problems.

    September 10, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  18. Mollybee

    Ye Gads, Perry is an idiot!

    September 10, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. Jim

    Wow, they sure are fighting dirty! Saying what they believe in, highlighting their different approaches to an issue, even sticking by what they have said before. It will be a sad day in America when all our political figures start acting this way. I'm glad the media is here to point out these feuds.

    September 10, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. SciGuy

    Sylvia, you will get canned answers pandering to various groups from Romney, Perry, Bachman. You will get a Constitutional, principled response from Dr Paul.

    September 10, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  21. Republicans are not for middle class

    How stupid can this Texan be???? . Really folks go to Florida and try to convince seniors they don't need social security.... ...how stupid....that should warn you about voting for a party of noobs like this. then you have a Flake that promises 2 dollars a gallon for gas???? GIVE ME A BREAK what a bunch of loosers. theres no way these jerk Republicans can rebuild thier party when they have a front runner like this. I don't even think they care anymore. at least Romney is for Obamacare

    September 10, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  22. Marilyn Bates

    I'm disappointed that "the powers that be" have decided that voters are only interested in 2 candidates. I WANT TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HERMAN KAIN (not even sure if I have the name right–media reports so little on his ideas–THE GODFATHER"S PIZZA GUY) I want to know more about his 9 point plan!!!!!!!!

    September 10, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  23. Lenny Pincus

    If you actually investigate Perry's Texas, you'll find most deregulation was followed by good ole boys backscratching and massive fraud, rather typical of the states rights crew, There is also a juicy scandal about a faith based bigwig who loves to expose herself and spend taxpayers money on fun. Rick's own personal behavior has some excellent adventures (Austin is one heckuva party town, Ricky). A middle of the road Democrat who becomes a Christianist. A state rights dimbulb who relies on massive federal funding to run his state. A budget slasher who defunds firefighting while his state burns down. And the nice leather chaps? Whooo, boy. Yeah, good luck getting this guy past the front door.

    September 10, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  24. Jefferson Darcy

    Perry support illegals.
    7 million ILLEGAL aliens hold non-agricultural jobs in the U.S.,
    Jobs that could and should go to Americans.
    Push your state rep to make a change.
    Google this: NUMBERSUSA .
    Once you are registered, go to the "action board" to send FREE faxes to your state representative.
    They are all typed up and ready to go, you just need to click your mouse to send.

    September 10, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  25. pt6071

    Social security was a "big government" program passed by a Democratic president by the name of FDR, by the way.

    September 10, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
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