Perry-Romney fight over Social Security could flare again Monday
September 9th, 2011
04:48 PM ET
11 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 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. cog099

    "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? "

    There are no FICA funds to return! If you think their is a little "piggy bank" with your name on it you are delusional. Those funds we are all paying are funding current recipients of SS.....
    By definition SS is a Ponzi Scheme though it does not promise profits from your contributions. In it's current form middle aged Americans paying into SS now will receive their benefits from the working generation paying into SS when their benefits are being drawn. Previous investors are paid by the funds of subsequent investors.

    September 10, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  2. jobless

    Thank you GOP I was on the fence whether or not to vote for Obama in the next elections but with this kind of nonsense just made it easier for me to vote Dems and I am an independent..

    My word of advice to GOP Perry is to extreme to be president , this guy can't make it on the worlds stage. Romney he clearly don,t have a clue as to what he is doing, all I have gotten from him for the past mounts is what Obama is doing wrong to date he have not come up with any ideas of his own yet.

    September 10, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. Scott

    Talking with enemies=appeasement, disagreeing with a war=hating our troops; suggesting improvements in our foreign policy=apologizing for America; Changing medical insurance laws=government run health care; and republicans are boo-hooing about demagoguing?? Cry me a big, fat, hypocritical river.

    September 10, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  4. Rosa, b'ham al

    Yawn. Crazy boy versus crazy boy wanna be.

    September 10, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. rsp

    This SS mess is the reason why we should have wised up and learned from our past mistakes. We can not trust the government to manage our money and lives. It should of been left in the hands of the people. Now that both sides have messed up our lives, they can't figure out how to correct it. Socialism is this nations future, due to our past mistakes. There is no going back now as we are in too deep. Our children our lazy and have been trained to depend on government to take care of them. The next generations are unable to take care for themselves. The government knows that, why else would they expect us to cover their medical insurance well into their 20's.

    September 10, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  6. frpdp1008

    Both of these so called "Candidates" for the Republican nomination do not just want to touch the "third rail of American politics", they want to lie down on it while the train runs over them!!!!

    September 10, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. profbam

    Why is it being called a Republican Tea Party debate? Phil Judson's Tea Party does not have the money to sponsor this. All other so-called tea party groups, such as the Tea Party Express, are fronts for billionaire businessmen and serve only to help them get back to the looting of America..

    September 10, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. Jam11

    Reagan's economic policies sent the federal deficit to never-before-seen levels. His tax cuts did nothing but expand the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the middle class. The poverty rate during Reagan's presidency actually rose. The great boom in American business and the economy that conservatives like to credit to Reagan actually came to fruition during the 1990s while Bill Clinton occupied the White House. Reagan's 1981 tax cuts had as much to do with the economic boom of the 1990s as the Philadelphia Phillies' penny-pinching during the same decade had to do with the ballclub's recent success. Absolutely nothing, despite what those advocating those policies may want us to believe. Ronald Reagan had the good political fortune to come to power with the nation's economy reeling; the turnaround was inevitable. The subsequent downturn of the late 1980s and early '90s, under George H.W. Bush's watch, was also inevitable given the policies embraced by Bush and Reagan.

    The simple fact is that supply-side economics is an utter failure, only succeeding in making the rich even richer. The middle class is squeezed to the point of poverty by its reduced buying power and the outsourcing of jobs

    September 10, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. Carol

    Social Security and Medicare are not entitlements. You pay into the Social Security by a small prcentage, it is really like insurance with the govenment. You can't decide to not pay at any given time, it just goes into the fund so when you retire you are assured of having something of the paychecks you've been receiving all your working life. Medicare is not given, the receiver of Medicare has an amount taken from their SS checks deducted each month. It could be under a hundred, or over hundreds depending on what you've earned in Social Security payments. There again not given to you. Medicaid is an entitlement. The wheelers and dealers of the young politicians see a way to make money for their friends that give money to them and would like the young to disband the SS program and promise they can make big money. It might work, but it probably won't for the majority of middleclass. We lost money in stocks, bonds, etc. in 2002 along with others at that time, and our financial planner fell asleep on her feet and didn't connect with us . If you can afford to lose thousands or more you might make out, but don't count on it. The tried and true won't make you a millionaire, but it will keep you in food and shelter.

    September 10, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Middle Class

    What about us in our mid-40s that have paid into the system since age 16? I have to agree with Perry that the entitlement models of our parent's generation no longer work. It worked for 1.5 generations and we now live in a brave new world. I don't think the system should be abolished, however it needs to be managed better and perhaps provide a no-tax, opt-out clause if you decide to trust your investment advisors more than the FED. I doubt I will ever see the full value as the age for collecting full benefits continues to rise and I feel sick about the idea that my teenage daughter will start paying into a system that willl probably never provide a return. I'm not sure I will vote (yet) for Rick Perry, however I congratulate him for talking opening and honestly about the sacred cow no other politician wants to touch.

    September 10, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  11. mario

    All of the republicans candidates are either too extrimist too ill inform and too stupid to be in touch with the common folk what we need to do is get rid off Congress only elect people who are willing to compromised anyone who has signed a pledge is not allowed to run for anything place terms for anyone in office no more lobbiest ever no more contributions from people or enteties public assitance will be giving for 3 years with the understanding recipient will need to attend some kind of viable trade socialized healthcare so it will be free for everyone increased social security yearly free colleged education for everyone with a 3.0 GPA an above bring back the death penalty and televised for free at the same time we can create a organ bank with the executed convicts grow plenty of food instead of giving money to other countries we give them food make everything in america so we can all have a job an one more thing no CEO Doctor or lawyer will make more money than the president of the United States this country has been blessed we can not let GREED destroy our destiny

    September 10, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Proud Dem female in nc

    I love to see the Teathuglicans eating their own. Perry is a LUNATIC and the Mitt isn't much better. All they need is ignorant, hateful Palin to run! I love it. Obama 2012!!!!!

    September 10, 2011 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |

    is this a presidential campaign or a reality tv show?

    September 10, 2011 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Minnie's Pearls

    As I've listened to Mittens on this issue, I can hear the near panic in his voice. Like most candidates, he speaks of reform as a rote talking point but he's right to be concerned for his party with the dangerous and reckless statements Perry is making on SS. This is not something you can go all swagger on like Perry's doing and hope to get votes.

    September 10, 2011 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. hjs3

    Oh this will be fun.....
    Wouldn't vote for either one of 'em to walk my dog...

    September 10, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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