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. Ponzi

    And the hard thing to accept is I know of people who DOESN'T CONTRIBUTE TO THE SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM and yet are the ones benefiting FIRST long before I retire. No wonder this SS is going bankrupt in a few more years.

    September 9, 2011 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  2. MikeB

    My older brothers used to get cats to fight by rubbing them together.
    Apparently the media doesn't have a problem with doing that either.
    The media may be disappointed Monday. These are not cats and at least one is wise to that won't play to the derisiveness of the media.
    Newt Gingrich called the media onto the carpet for that tactic last Wednesday.

    September 9, 2011 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  3. The Unsub

    while these republican clowns try to "out-american" one another, Obama is cruising to a landslide win in '12. Huntsman is the only credible voice in the crowd next to Paul. Maybe Powell can come to their rescue?....hmmmm.

    September 10, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  4. Terry

    I agree with Perry. Let's dump social security, medicare, and welfare. Screw all of those old people, poor people, and out of work middle class union workers. Perry is the man who brought part-time "sub-minimum wages" to Texas, and Texans say he is the man! Perry is the ultimate union buster. The GOP finally found a horse to ride.

    September 10, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  5. Bob t

    The comments here are as utterly clueless as to the new political reality as this retarded article.

    Neither of these bozos has a prayer against a true stateman who has the faith and support of millions.

    Read the debate polls. Ron Paul got more votes than Romney and Perry COMBINED, and accomplsihed that while they virtually ignore him.

    September 10, 2011 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  6. Joshua Ludd

    Its not a "feud" , CNN. They are running against each other for the Republican nomination, not going to summer camp together.

    September 10, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  7. MeganColorado

    When I read these posts, I can't help but believe we are doomed as Americans–never mind the politicians. As Americans, so many have become so crass and classless in their comments that I can't help but believe that maybe we just deserve this mess we are in. Why do we deserve to be a nation to be held in high honor when so many citizens are more interested in senseless ramble with no interest in truly getting at the truth of a matter. This backwater, brash ramble is not helpful. I suppose long gone are the days when people engaged in "polite" debate on these very important issues. There is so much name calling and misquoting of events that it seems most Americans are happy to spout any dribble they want and call it truth. I am truly ashamed of most Americans–we are become a classless bunch–politicians and citizens alike.

    September 10, 2011 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  8. normajean

    I wouldn't trust the opinion of either of these men on this subject. In the first place S.S was instituted in 1935 and has worked successfully ever since. The government has "borrowed" from it but it remains in tact. Millions of workers have paid into it during their working years as I did, starting at 13 yrs.of age.. and then started to collect on retirement. It is still solvent. One of the reasons is because it works like a savings account. Also it is still working because not everyone who pays does, in fact, collect. In my family alone, five workers who paid into it for all their working years did not live to collect a cent!! FACT! To call it a Ponzi scheme is a lack of knowledge and a lack of caring for the people involved.

    September 10, 2011 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. Spock500

    Well, Rick Perry essentially sealed his own fate here.

    September 10, 2011 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  10. Jt_flyer

    Romney is the only hope for the republican party. He's perceived as intelligent. Perry... Dumb as a rock!

    September 10, 2011 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  11. Mike Hou

    I see nothing but the usual democrat name calling in here no ideas on actually paying for thier programs. Anyone who knows what a Ponzi scheme is knows that social security is exactly that. Only Perry has the cojones to say it out loud.

    September 10, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  12. asantewa

    The front runner is Ron Paul. Ron Paul is the people's choice even though the media is trying to undermine his front runner status.

    September 10, 2011 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  13. Mark

    Plain and simple, if it isn't Romney or Paul, I'm voting Obama. The T in Tea party should stand for Treason.

    September 10, 2011 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  14. Mark

    Why is it so impossible to get a straight answer out of a Tea Bagger

    September 10, 2011 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  15. foreverwar

    Mitt Romney seems to have a better intellectual understanding of....well, almost everything than Rick Perry. However, Perry does seem to be better at choosing campaign management.

    September 10, 2011 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  16. sal paradise

    If Perry were President and Texas were to secede from the Union, would Perry put down the rebellion?

    September 10, 2011 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  17. The Jay Man

    Wake up, America! Both Perry and Romney are turds, neither has a clue.

    To the MSM – It's insulting that you continue to push these two as front runners when other candidates repeatedly destroy them in the polls.

    September 10, 2011 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  18. Squigman

    Take them both behind the barn, give them matching weed eaters, and the one to come out with the most skin remaining wins.

    September 10, 2011 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  19. Sweep off the rug

    Can't really see much difference between these two, though at least Romney's hair is real.

    September 10, 2011 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  20. Robert

    Social security is not just a senior citizen issue; it affects all of us. I have been paying into it for half my life and it damn well better be there for me when I retire...all of it! Not 75 cents for every dollar I put in, 100%. I will not vote for a candidate who's going to say ___k it and throw it all out the window. No one has the right to do that to my money. Perry is clearly out of touch with the everyday American. But what does he have to worry about, he probably bleeds Texas oil and can live off that the rest of his life; what does he care.

    September 10, 2011 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  21. david williams

    Morally bankrupt people advocating the end of the social safety net for seniors should not be getting this much attention, unless they are in court, or on stage at a comedy club. They should either be arrested, or laughed at.

    September 10, 2011 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  22. Shawn

    Sylvia, thank you for giving me the inspiration to post. All of the name calling, vitriolic, unsupported rhetoric in many former posts is a waste of time. It also illustrates the inability or unwillingness of the most opinionated to provide solutions to issues they have already figured out. It's a strategery [no sic please] that is weak and tired and so easy to embrace. Shouting about what's wrong doesn't make you right. We're a nation founded on the common principals of the most diligent and creative people the world knows. We're not grown from pods and nourished by neatly sliced and diced news clips shoveled into our pens by bloviators and conspiracy theorists. Wake up people. Get a shovel and start digging out of this mess or burrow down till you run out of air. At least then you can fertilize future crops as you decay.

    September 10, 2011 03:36 am at 3:36 am |
  23. Greg

    Just ignore these two idiots and listen to Ron Paul 🙂

    September 10, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  24. Wowsors

    Is it just me or is it scary how rich white and bush like both of these two are and how similar you need to be to mr bush to get any sort of traction at all within the GOP?

    September 10, 2011 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  25. Siesta Key

    Social Security and Medicare are a few of the good things we have left in America. I wonder how much my share was to pay for Iraq, Afghanistan, bail out of rich corporations, stimulus #1, #2 and soon to be #3. Why would the President want to continue reducing the payroll tax deduction.....that just lessens the amount of FICA going into the Social Security system. Why does Barack want another stimulus package....has he not been paying attention. I think we need to get big government stimulus programs out of the equation. The President has let me down and I am hoping that Hillary would consider running. Get out of Iraq...get out of Afghanistan...stop importing goods & start producing goods here. Stop importing foreign cars.....kick Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Huydai (sic), VW, Mercedes, BMW out of our country. Stop all foreign aid until the year 3000.

    September 10, 2011 06:19 am at 6:19 am |
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