Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry had questioned the very foundations of Social Security before Monday's debate. His new, softer stance is a bow to political reality.
In the past the Texas governor has called the huge federal retirement program a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” But he didn’t use such inflammatory language on Monday night. Instead, he echoed the structure of an opinion article he’d published in that day’s USA Today.
First, he reassured seniors and those close to retirement that he’s not in favor of changing current benefits.
“Slam dunk, guaranteed, that program is going to be there” for such individuals, Governor Perry told the audience of tea party adherents.
Then he said he would tell younger workers the truth: The system is broken and needs to be reformed.
He concluded “we’re going to fix it,” without offering any specific policy prescriptions other than a national conversation on the subject.