When Rick Perry said in Wednesday's Republican debate that he still believes Social Security is a Ponzi scheme, Mitt Romney must have done a little mental fist pump. Romney said during the debate that Republicans must nominate "someone who isn't committed to abolishing Social Security, but someone who is committed to saving Social Security." Thursday, his campaign has already issued a press release about Perry's "reckless" and "wrong" position on the issue. But Romney shouldn't get too celebratory just yet. Turns out not everyone knows exactly what a Ponzi scheme is, so they might think Perry's extreme statement is just fine.
"Guess what's coming in Russ Feingold's negative campaign? He's going to tell you I said, 'Washington treats Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.' You know what? I did say that. Because it's true. Russ Feingold and politicians both parties raided the Social Security trust fund of trillions and left seniors an IOU. They spent the money. It's gone. I'll fight to keep every nickel of Social Security for retirees. And I'll respect you enough to tell you the truth."
Of course, suggesting one of your party's presidential candidates carries some risk. In 1964, President Lyndon Johnson's re-election campaign attacked former Sen. Barry Goldwater... with a campaign ad that employed the words of then-Michigan Gov. George Romney, Mr. Romney’s father. "In June, [Gov. Romney] said Goldwater's nomination would lead to the 'suicidal destruction of the Republican Party,'" the ad says. "So even if you're a Republican with serious doubts about Barry Goldwater, you're in good company.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.