Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will again press Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Social Security in Thursday’s night Fox News debate in Orlando, looking to show GOP voters Perry’s views are simply too extreme to choose him as the GOP nominee.
In a series of e-mail messages to reporters Wednesday, Romney aides distributed detailed questions about Perry’s comments that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstruous lie” as well quotes from Florida lawmakers questioning Perry’s suggestions in his 2010 book “Fed Up,” that Social Security should never have been created and it would be better if states and localities ran retirement programs.
“Rick Perry has said that he wants Social Security to go back to the states. Given the challenging budgetary situation many states are already in, his plan could put retirees and near-retirees in an even more precarious position,” said Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fl.), who has already endorsed Romney in the primary. “Would states like Florida have to choose between honoring our promises to seniors and paying for education and public safety?”
The move is an escalation of Romney’s strategy over the last month, repeatedly questioning Perry on Social Security in an attempt to convince GOP voters and donors the Texas governor could never win a general election.
And it illustrates how Perry has forced Romney to retool his entire campaign approach. After spending months ignoring his opponents and focusing entirely on President Obama, Romney is increasingly attacking Perry.
In reaction to Perry’s surge in polls nationally, Romney, who had largely written off Iowa early in the campaign, is now planning to compete there against the Texas governor.