The Texas governor gave some Republicans heartburn when he called the program a "Ponzi scheme" on Wednesday night
Texas Gov. Rick Perry's loaded descriptions of Social Security as a "Ponzi scheme" and "monstrous lie" in Wednesday's presidential primary debate were nothing new from the hard-charging Republican. But the fact that he repeated the red-hot rhetoric without toning it down for a national television audience surprised some GOP strategists, who questioned whether his head-on challenge of Social Security would become a liability if he's the GOP nominee against President Obama.
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"For Rick Perry to call the Social Security check that your mother and my mother receive each and every month a fraudulent way to collect money could be devastating,'' said Florida-based Republican strategist Jamie Miller, who is not working for any of the presidential candidates. "If Mitt Romney is able to turn the primary into a debate about Social Security reform instead of about his health care record in Massachusetts, I think he wins.''
And Mitt Romney wasted no time Thursday trying to capitalize on the issue, with his team convinced that such overheated language is politically toxic even in Republican primaries--where early-voting states like Iowa, South Carolina, and Florida are filled with seniors. Romney went on Sean Hannity's radio show this afternoon, questioning whether Perry was too extreme to defeat Obama.