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. sks

    Obama 2012 still remains the only reasoable option for America at this time. Perry, Bachman, Paul, Romney and the right wing fringe don't present radically Better leadership option for this time. May Elohim have mercy on Obama now and in 2012 to be re-elected. Thank you.

    September 9, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. Don Jones

    The GOPers should have " Chain of Fools" as their theme song. It seems somehow autobiographical.

    September 9, 2011 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. Daniel

    As of right now, Social Security is there for everyone.
    To suggest that it will not be there for future generations, is an attempt by the right (specifically Perry) to enable Congress to take it and run... now.
    Sorry, we've witnessed big banks black-mail George W. Bush already, and we as Americans will pick up arms to fight against these real terrorists if we have to.

    September 9, 2011 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Matt From Utah

    Mike from MN.
    We don't worship Joseph Smith.
    Get it right before you state incorrect facts. You're as bad as the politicians.

    September 9, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  5. Weasley

    Perry's Tea Party Puppet Masters would love nothing more than to do away with Social Security.

    All that money languishing in the Treasury could be directed straight towards Wallstreet. Just think how much money Wallstreet investors would make. All those huge bonuses that would be paid. It boggles the mind. Perry and his Republican cronies quiver in their boots just thinking about it.

    Now just think what would happen to the retirement income of over 150 million Americans if Wallstreet tanks, again.

    Yet again, the Rich Repulicans are looking for ways to shake down the Average American to fund their obsessive desire for wealth and power.

    September 9, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |

    All of the GOP want to dismantle Social Security and Medicare, every last one of them. Some want to give you a coupon and send you up against the insurance companies to fend for yourself. If you can't get the coverage you want for your coupon, tuff luck! Others want you to start your own Social security program by putting it in the stock market. How many people would have been completely wiped out when the market crashed? What would you have done. If they really want to fix the Social security system, even though it's 100% funded right now until 2034, their are some easy answers. First, remove the cap on the payments. Right now a person only pays into the system until you earn $106K, after that payments into the system stop. Simply remove the cap! But if you really want to see how fast the system can be fixed, make the congress join the system instead of their own system that makes social security look like chump change.

    September 9, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. Lizzy10

    Two twits in a battle of wits, and neither is armed.

    September 9, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

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

    My first thought was hemorrhoids, because both Parry and Romney (heck, the whole GOP party and teabaggers) are a pain in the arse.

    September 9, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. jennifer in Houston

    Someone needs to tell the idiot Perry to get his sorry self home to deal with the wild fires.. sheesh, it's bad enough that we have had him as Gov' all these years, now he wants to tank the US too.

    September 9, 2011 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Peter Q Wolfe

    I'm legally blind unemployed and in in college, so what would people like me do wihout ssi to get by tilll either the market changes to be more accommmedating or getting more education? This nation is squabling over the reality of life and we need more ambitious thinkers to tackle the deficiets without partisanship or special interest on both sides. Facts are that we have 14 trillion dollars on both dems and reps hands and many programs in thier existing condition won't last for very long without a retuning. If you have ideas juyst e-mail your congressma or woman about them especially if you have experience cause our nation needs people like you now! I also agree that social security has been expanded to encompass almost anybody for disabilities even if it isn't chronic and not needed. I also think medical costs are up just need more health care not insurance on preventive investments in many things and to open up markets to the rest of the world to eliminate protectionalism in this country. inally, I'm neither party just hate the republicans and the denial of democrats to see the light.

    September 9, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. David

    What was clear in yesterdays jobs speach is that neither of these yahoos will have a chance against Obama, they will not be able to hide behind the repub propoganda and misinformation when debating him – and they are both intellectually inferior. Romney is downright boring and robotic whose daddy made him rich and Perry is an extremist cowboy clown.

    September 9, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Hmm

    Nice how every other candidate is more or less being ignored. Ron Paul won the post-debate poll by a landslide and continues to do well with similar polls. However it seems he and every other candidate is of no importance when the two pretty boy corrupt politicians go at it.

    September 9, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  13. thomas

    @ Four and The Door

    Where was your brilliance during the Bush years ?

    The real threat is ignorance !
    Until you find the WMDs in Iraq and tally the cost , please hold your sharing on bringing the debt level down !

    September 9, 2011 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  14. roy

    Why should either care about Social Security they are both multi-millionaires and won't ever need to collect it. Both would rather spend the money on wars which help pump up the stock market – the republican way.

    September 9, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. Mike kerns

    Eliminating social security and Medicare is a priority for conservatives since these these programs were created. But Romney is smart enough to know that being open about the conservatives true intentions will not win any elections. Bankrupting the government is a more effective way to kill social security and Medicare anyways.

    September 9, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  16. Donkey Party

    Anybody that uses names like "Obambi" can't really expect to be taken seriously. Ignorant immature asshole.

    September 9, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  17. Luke Brown

    Romney is a solid guy, but he needs to just stick to his guns and not let these Tea Party yahoos throw him off stride. Perry isn't going to win Florida with his history with Hispanics and his potshots at Social Security.

    September 9, 2011 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  18. dave

    may i ask a pro-life, anti-entitlement republican how they can reconcile those two beliefs, considering the vast majority of those considering abortion do so because they are not ready (mentally sure, but mostly FISCALLY) to take care of a child, thus relegating both child and parent to a more likely life in or near poverty, thus creating a larger population that would need government handouts? seriously republicans....answer that one for me. are you selectively pro-life? closet racists who haven't been called out on it yet? PLEASE someone have the stones to answer that one logically....

    September 9, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  19. Bob

    I don't think much of Romney but I did not think there was a Republican out there more stupid than Palin BUT Perry sure managed it. Stupid is as Stupid does. A true Bush clone.

    September 9, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  20. RINO Bil

    Rick Perry is unelectable ... no matter what his stand on Social Security is.

    September 9, 2011 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |

    The simple fact that a debate is raging within the Republican Party as to whether social security should be continued is a commentary by itself and a red flag to all Americans that the GOP is dangerous and out of touch with reality.

    September 9, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Bob

    Let's go with the Republican plan: No unions, less cops, fireman (sorry 911 victims) , teachers, etc. less regulation of big business because we need more like Enron, AIG, Goldman Sachs, Leman Bros, Wall street crooks, banks causing housing collapse, no tax on rich, keep loop holes for rich on boats, planes, etc, keep tax break for big oil (they need more to add to their billions in profits, etc. more illegal aliens to work for nothing. take from medicare and medical (sorry old folks). Yep gotta love what they want for the new America. Oh yea,,,they have no idea how to create jobs. Neither do any of the commentors below. We are spoiled idiot brats who do nothing but complain. We still vote the same idiots from BOTH parties right back into office. OH yea if the idiot party of no gets in perhaps we can invade Canada (more money for Haliburton. less

    September 9, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  23. The Lone Okie

    The American people need to wake up, Senators, Congressmen, and Governors do not retire on social security . They have their own seperate, better benefits, retirement system and they can also draw SSI and Medicare. You are a fool to let them cut yours. They are not cutting theirs. The tea party wants to cut the middle class and working poor back to the 1950's. The Bush tax cuts were suppose to be temporary.

    September 9, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  24. w l jones

    The social security will be here here for retire senior citizen as long as people stop double dipping .

    September 9, 2011 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  25. Toejam

    PLEASE God, let one of them show up wearing an "I'm with stupid" T-shirt.

    September 9, 2011 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
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