Perry still smiling after rough-and-tumble debate
September 13th, 2011
11:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry still smiling after rough-and-tumble debate

Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) - The night after fielding blistering attacks for his views on Social Security, a jovial Rick Perry told a Boston audience he was the only GOP candidate willing to fix the entitlement program.

The Texas governor, who has repeatedly called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme," was the focus of sustained criticism at the CNN/Tea Party Debate Monday. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said using the term "Ponzi scheme" was "over the top, unnecessary and frightening" to Americans.

Perry fired back at Romney's criticism on Social Security Tuesday on Romney's home turf.

"Other candidates in this race use words like 'fraud' and compared it to a criminal enterprise," Perry said in Boston, repeating an accusation he leveled at Romney the previous night. "And under the media spotlight they change their tune and they start sounding like liberals."

At the debate Romney denied Perry's charge he called the entitlement program a "criminal enterprise."

Reforming Social Security has traditionally been a third-rail issue that politicians address at their peril.

Sensing a potential weakness in the current front-runner for the Republican ticket, both Romney and Rep. Michele Bachmann's campaigns have already circulated flyers criticizing Perry for his views.

But in a speech peppered with jokes, Perry did not back down.

"Republican primary voters want candidates who not only campaign like conservatives but they also govern that way too," he said Tuesday. "It is time for our leaders to admit our problem. It is our first step on the road to recovery."

Perry was the keynote speaker at the Better Government Competition awards dinner in downtown Boston. The event was hosted by the Pioneer Institute think tank and honored award winners for submitting "budget busting" ideas to make government more efficient.

The Texas governor joked with the crowd but also appeared tired, speaking slowly and occasionally searching for words during his speech.

He also jokingly compared politicians in Washington, D.C., to addicts in treatment.

"There ought to be a 12-step program for Washington, D.C.," he said, to laughter from the audience. "The first step should be: admit you are powerless over your spending addiction and that your budget has become unmanageable."

soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Chrisg510

    not for long. Perry can not win a general election

    September 13, 2011 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. Todd

    Elect any candidate but Obama. Pass it on!

    September 13, 2011 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  3. ThinkAgain

    Parry's problem with the 12 Steps is that he thinks HE is God, when in reality, he needs to submit to a Higher Power (in this case, the good of the country and not his political ambition).

    September 13, 2011 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |

    Dangerous demagogue this Perry fellow. Why hasn't anybody challenged him on his secessionist agenda,.. on his aversion to the federal government's role in States affairs,.. yet he's asking for federal troops to help him patrol his border with Mexico, asking for federal help in fighting the Texas fires,.. using federal money to refurbish his governor's mansion. This man talks a big story, speaks with a forked tongue, and is a big time puppet of the corporate lobbyists.

    September 13, 2011 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  5. Real American

    If America is ready to put any Repugblican back in the White House then they are ready for the consequences of there actions. Wow how they forget or choose not to remember..

    September 14, 2011 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  6. thomas

    I wish I could be in Texas this weekend for Rick Perrys party , good food , one million dollar catering service !

    Enron's Favorite State Candidates
    & PACs, 1998 and 2000 Election Cycles
    Recipient Amount Gov. George W. Bush
    Gov. Rick Perry
    A.G. John Cornyn

    Perry / Enron 2012

    September 14, 2011 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  7. Mariee

    He is too dumb to know what has happened to him, it'll be a matter of time before he drops out. Those tea baggers will not be able to save him, because the rest of the country is smarter.

    September 14, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  8. DBlaq

    The more they argue with him on Soc. Secy., the better he looks. When they press him on the HPV issue, he seems like a power crazed dictator enacting his will thru executive order. Bachmann has the right idea in attacking him on the HPV vaccine, but she still isn't putting any new ideas on the table. Her campaign is still running off rhetoric, fear mongering, and finger pointing. Romney keeps flip-flopping so he's not believable. Cain isn't charismatic at all, tho he has some good ideas (like the idea of adopting Chile's soc. secy. system...Chile? That didn't sound half as smart as it probably did in his head). I like Paul's ideas and what he stands for but he comes off like that crazy, bitter uncle that rants on about gov't conspiracies while drowning a 24 oz. - and his own party doesn't take him seriously. Santorum looks like the kid standing by the side that cries, "I wanna play, I wanna play..." but everyone ignores. Huntsman sounds like the teacher's pet douchebag who really doesn't add anything worthwhile but thinks he knows everything. Gingrich sounds seasoned and is actually impressive, surprisingly. Too bad he comes with too much baggage and the GOP don't want him to be the frontrunner.

    September 14, 2011 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  9. Sylvestre Apolonio

    Mr Perry what type of program would you recommend for a person who as Michelle says has a cronyism affliction?

    September 14, 2011 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  10. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    Governor Perry, please explain why you accepted those 10s of billions in fed govt bailout money. Please explain how you are all about creating jobs, by first telling how many govt jobs you "created" with that money. Tell us how it works in the great state of Texas, which is ranked where in education and per capita income?

    September 14, 2011 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  11. FM

    Though am not a fan of Perry, but the man should not be shedding tears. What he said is sensible!

    September 14, 2011 07:38 am at 7:38 am |