Is the Perry/Romney clip about Social Security the bite of the night?
During the GOP candidates debate at the Reagan Library Wednesday night, Texas Governor Rick Perry firmly held his position that Social Security is "Ponzi scheme," while Mitt Romney counted this as a position to "disqualify" Perry as a GOP nominee.
Rick Perry is sticking to his guns on Social Security, standing by the inflammatory language in his book declaring the entitlement program a “Ponzi scheme” and a failure.
“It is a monstrous lie. It is a Ponzi scheme,” Perry said in the POLITICO/NBC debate. “Anybody that’s for the status quo with Social Security today is involved with a monstrous lie to our kids.”
To the charge that his language was over the top, he said: “Maybe it’s time to have some provocative language in this country.”
Mr. Perry called it "a monstrous lie" to tell young workers that the Social Security taxes they pay will come back to them in retirement benefits. Mr. Romney retorted that his rival's position on Social Security could disqualify him as the GOP nominee.
"Our nominee has to be someone who isn't committed to abolishing Social Security but who is committed to saving Social Security," Mr. Romney said. "Under no circumstances would I ever say by any measure it's a failure."
Perry's position had already been drawing fire from some top names...like Dick Cheney and Karl Rove.
"I certainly don't believe it's a Ponzi scheme," Cheney told ABC News' Jonathan Karl today. "It's a program that a great many people depend upon. I think it's a very important program."
Keeping Social Security and other entitlement programs such as Medicare solvent will require hard choices, Cheney said, especially given the nation's overall debt, but calling it a Ponzi scheme doesn't help: "It doesn't tell you anything in terms of solutions."
Perry’s campaign has not backed away from what Perry wrote in his book “Fed Up” — that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” a “failure,” “something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now,” and one of many New Deal programs that have “never died, and like a bad disease, they have spread.”
But Rove pulled no punches today, calling that stance “inadequate.”
“They are going to have to find a way to deal with these things,” Rove said.
“They’re toxic in a general election environment and they are also toxic in a Republican primary. And if you say Social Security is a failure and ought to be replaced by a state level program, then people are going to say ‘What do you mean by that?’ and make a judgment based on your answer to it,” he said.