Rick Perry avoids ‘provocative language’ on Social Security in California campaign stop

September 8, 2011

CORONA DEL MAR, Calif. — Rick Perry’s “provocative language” in Wednesday night’s debate about Social Security was on the minds of hundreds of Orange County Republicans who waited under a spectacularly strong sun here Thursday to hear the Texas governor speak.

When county supervisor Shawn Nelson introduced Perry, he encouraged more tough talk from the governor. “Some inflammatory rhetoric — sometimes it proves your point,” he said. “When an organization promises to give away more than what we mathematically know it takes in, what do you call it?”

“Ponzi scheme!” the crowd cried out in response. “Ponzi scheme!”

But the audience didn’t get much “provocative language” from the GOP presidential front-runner. When Perry grabbed hold of the microphone he never uttered a word about Social Security, much less call it a “Ponzi scheme” as he did on Wednesday night.

Instead, he talked about jobs.

“We need to have a nominee that doesn’t blur the lines between themselves and the current resident of the White House, and I’ll tell you one thing: I have got that contrast between Obama and myself,” Perry said.

“It is time for a change,” he added. “And I’m not talking about the rhetoric of change. I’m talking about a record of change.”

This was Perry’s coming-out party in Orange County, an important Republican bastion in a heavily Democratic state. He drew a large crowd of at least 300, who filled bleachers and stood near the trimmed bushes and trees that dot the grounds of Roger’s Gardens.

The last time so many people packed this landscaping store, according to the proprietor, was when then-California governor Ronald Reagan visited to dedicate the American flag pole.

Perry, looking up at the flag as he spoke, said he would simplify and lower corporate taxes, cut federal spending and “repeal the president’s misguided, one-size-fits-all federal health care — now.”

“I want to share with you one promise,” Perry said. “I will get up every day, go to the White House, step into the Oval Office and make sure that we make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your life as we can every day.”

Perry ended his eight-minute speech by using a variation of the “Believe in America” slogan of his chief rival, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.

“Believe in America,” Perry said. “We can do this. We can take our country back. We can have a great and a powerful economy in this country again.”

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