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. 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 |
  2. mike

    it is too bad that the most qualified and reasonable candidate Mr Huntsman is not strong enough if he wants to make progress here he has to get rid of the nice guy stuff and start attacking his opponents I know he can out smart them he has more intelligence than Romney and Perry together, but he wont win if keeps saying "I like you guys but"..forget the "I like you crap"

    September 10, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  3. bj

    How about we ask all the candidates an equal amount of questions instead of shoving 2 candidates down America's throats. You guys might as well turn this next debate into a Romney vs. Perry jerk off commercial just like MSNBC did.

    September 10, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  4. son

    i am sick and tired of the bickering and fighting in Congress. If those politicians can't put our nation's interests above their party and individual's interests, they should not be there. Instead, they should be fired becauze they haven't done their job that they have been hired to do. Better yet, they will not be eligible for any pension nor unemployment benefits as an employee getting laid-off.

    September 10, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. EffortPA

    If you are a senior citizen and vote Republican, then you can kiss your Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid goodbye.

    September 10, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  6. emma

    We can predict, probably with accuracy, that the GOP Presidential candidates will spin their support of Social Security without revealing their actual plan for changing it. They will dance around the issue without honesty. Make no mistake, none of them will be inclined to do what the majority of Americans want. Privatizing it would be a way for insurance companies to make money from humans' propensity for illnesses.

    September 10, 2011 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. Carol

    Perry is an egotistical idiot!

    September 10, 2011 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  8. Marie MD

    Politicians"promise" all kinds of things, but when they do get elected they have to do their bidding not to their constituents but to the lobbyists and the big corporations (aka people) who gave them the most money.
    Until we get rid of lobbyists we will NEVER have a government for/by the people!

    September 10, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Ed Ward II

    Romney and Perry are the media picked candidates. Just say Ron Paul.

    September 10, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  10. bill

    perry v. romney – a two-headed beast fighting itself. they are still republican, and the winner gets to devour the losers hear head for the entertainment of the tea party misfits.

    September 10, 2011 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. Bostonturkey

    Bachmann and Perry are absurd and idiotic enough to be dangerous. They are dangerous.

    September 10, 2011 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. once upon a horse

    so is Perry/Romney going to be the 2012 version of Clinton/Obama?

    September 10, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  13. Peggy

    I work long hours every day and I'm not paid very much but I work hard every day because I care. I'm sick of rich, lazy, slacker, spoon-fed, half-witted, lying sociopaths who think they can rule over working people like me. I'm sick of the Perrys, Limbaughs, Becks, Chenys, Bushes, Bachmans, Romneys, etc, etc.

    September 10, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  14. RTB

    A commitment to preserve SS and Medicare only for those "who are retired or nearing retirement" is the same as saying they don't intend to preserve them beyond that, for those younger than "nearing retirement". If they meant to do that they'd say so. It's not just what they say that maters – it's what they don't say that matters as well.

    September 10, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. dude

    I love to watch Republicans eat each other!

    September 10, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. dennis

    CNN posted this bogus article for one purpose only. CNN is looking for ways to degrade Perry's image to the Nations Voters. The fact is, and I am a Senior, Social Security is being bankrupted by many who have never even paid a penny into the Fund. I recently went to a Social Security Office just to check on when I might possibly file. The room had over 100 people in it ranging from just born to 90 years. The scary part was the 90 year olds where there with the just born babies becuase the kids fathers and mothers abandoned them to their Grandparents. The whole bunch were a mix of Mexican Americans and Africian Americans. When I finally got my turn at the window, I was greeted with, oh, if you file now, you'll only qualify for $200 a month, better just keep working. I've paid my whole life for a bunch of freeloaders to steal everything I've, and all the rest of the hard working elders, spent a lifetime paying into a System being driven bankrupt.

    September 10, 2011 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. FM

    GOP is in big trouble, they better dig on to get fresh contenders, as Romney can not win the primaries and Perry can not win the General Election. Things are in a shamble!

    September 10, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. skarphace

    I agree with most people here that we need to save SS, not abolish it. It is a safety plan for those who could not afford a private security plan. Therefore, we need to find a way, either through increased revenues or an individual mandate, to save it.

    September 10, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Lenny Pincus

    Generally people become anti-Republican by listening to Republicans and realizing what creeps they are. People also become anit-Democrat by listening to Republicans and believing what they say. Perry is a perfect example. A big states rights guy who thinks the Federal government is evil. But he takes massive amounts of Federal money to balance his own budget and needs the Feds to keep his state from burning down. And who provides all the jobs in his state? Energy companies who don't pay taxes, are coddled by Texas politicians and rack up record profits while workers get less money and fewer benefits. Where Perry is the worst kind of political chameleon, at least Ron Paul sticks by his guns.

    September 10, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Two and They're Through

    Americans are finally waking up to the great threat to Medicare, Social Security, unemployment insurance, collective bargaining rights, the minimum wage, education, the separation of church and state, democracy, and frankly, our way of life, represented by reactionary Republican control of the House of Representatives, governorships and state legislatures, as well as the Republican minority's abuse of the veto in the Senate. 2012 can't come soon enough. America is going to throw the sons of bitches out!.

    September 10, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. Jam11

    In 1990, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York, a member of the Greenspan Commission, and one of the strongest advocates the the 1983 legislation, became outraged when he learned that first Reagan, and then President George H.W. Bush ...used the surplus Social Security revenue to pay for other government programs instead of saving and investing it for the baby boomers. Moynihan locked horns with President Bush and proposed repealing the 1983 payroll tax hike. Moynihan’s view was that if the government could not keep its hands out of the Social Security cookie jar, the cookie jar should be emptied, so there would be no surplus Social Security revenue for the government to loot. President Bush would have no part of repealing the payroll tax hike. The “read-my-lips-no-new-taxes​” president was not about to give up his huge slush fund.

    amazes me how the middle class and poor vote in Republicans, when Republicans only help the top 5%. Americans want to think they are rich so they go with the Republican party and it only hurts them. It is so stupid. Ronald Reagan was the one who really did a lot of damage to the middle class and poor

    it was BushJR (Best friend of Rick Perry) and his rethugs. who tripled the debt. They tried hard to destoy America by spending with tax cuts for the wealthy, of which I am sure you are not, and they spent on two wars OFF THE BOOKS, and a prescription drug plan that was not paid for. When are you ignorant repugs. going to realize that the people in this country are waking the MESS up and this crap won't go on much longer. May the rethuglican party sleep with the fishes!!

    There's no exaggeration when the Republicans want to take away "entitlements" that we have been paying for all our working life's. What they are exaggerating is that the rich are not going to create jobs (they haven't in the last 10 years with their tax cuts so why know when they want the President to fail and be a one term President); they are not going to have to declare bankruptcy, or lose their homes, or their cars or not be able to put on the table for their little darlings and they will still be able to invite all their rich friends who fly in on jets to their lavish parties while the rest of us, seniors, poor and the vanishing middle class scrape to get by.

    My oldest friend been duly paying his fair share into social security for 30 years. In fact, all of us in the middle class paid in a $3.2 trillion dollar surplus. And where did that money go while Republicans oversaw the "surplus". Poof gone – tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations to create jobs. I guess they meant in China. And now, when the time to put it back comes up, NO not the corporations and wealthy who took the surplus will repay, WE IN THE MIDDLE CLASS are supposed to repay ourselves. What shills for corporations and monied interests. Remember in November folks. 2012, the elderly VOTE!!!!

    September 10, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  22. JayEm

    Ron Paul is the only one worth considering. Let these two, Romney and Perry, battle themselves to oblivion so that Ron Paul can rise from the rubble.

    September 10, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    "Soon will Palladin & Sniffit, along w/all other welfare takers will be forced to go to (here it comes, Dems most dreaded word) WOR[K]"

    Funny how all these Repub/teabagger types assume that people who support our nation's social safety net don't work. Ever occur to you that we DO work – and actually understand the value of living in a civil society where the fortunate help those who are less so?

    Matthew 25:40: Jesus will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    September 10, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. American Empire

    I am waiting for the day after the election
    for sarah palin to declare her intentions.
    Mittens says that corporations are people.
    Why not just put Exxon Mobile in charge of the white house.
    It worked for Haliburton.

    September 10, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. BL

    Why is there need for a Tea Party "debate?" They all think exactly alike. The only difference is, which hair gel shows better on TV?

    September 10, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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