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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will Rick Perry's Social Security remarks dog him in Florida?



Rick Perry doubled down during Wednesday's debate, again calling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme" and "monstrous lie" to younger Americans because it cannot remain solvent.

The scene provided an instant takeaway for journalists and pundits -- and a distinct contrast with Perry's main rival, Mitt Romney, who defended Social Security and overall had a steady performance.

As Perry gears up for his Florida debut, it's assured the issue will follow him. Even before the debate, Romney's camp was viewing Perry's comments, first made in his book Fed Up!, as a Sunshine State liability.

Nationally, polls show voters in general oppose major changes to Social Security. Earlier this year a pro-Social Security interest group said its polling found 76 percent of Florida voters opposed cuts to Social Security to lower the deficit. Among Republicans, it was 66 percent. Among tea party members, 56 percent.

Then again, maybe voters don't care as much as the polls say they do. U.S. Senate candidate Marco Rubio in his GOP primary battle with Charlie Crist said during nationally televised debate that he was open to changes to Social Security. Crist ran ads against him. But Rubio won easily.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 8, 2011 2:44am]


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