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Republican Candidates To Attack Perry On Social Security

Jenny Chen |
September 12, 2011 | 4:18 p.m. PDT

Associate News Editor

Frontrunner Rick Perry (Creative Commons)
Frontrunner Rick Perry (Creative Commons)
Republican presidential candidates will have a chance to rally support and attack frontrunner Rick Perry at Monday night’s two-hour televised debate hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express. 

Rivals of Texas Governor Perry may take the opportunity to press him on his critique of Social Security. He is currently leading the GOP presidential nomination race, according to the latest CNN/ORC International Poll. 

Following Wednesday’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California, Perry has been criticized for calling Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” and a “monstrous lie.” 

“America’s goal must be to fix Social Security by making it more financially sound and sustainable for the long term,” Perry wrote in an op-ed piece in USA Today. “But Americans deserve a frank and honest discussion of the dire financial challenges facing the nearly 80-year-old program.” 

By 2037, retirees will receive about 76 cents back for every dollar put into Social Security, according to Perry’s piece. 

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has critiqued Perry and said he would not cut Social Security or Medicare for people retired or near retirement. 

Although Rep. Michele Bachmann -- who has slid back in national polls -- has said that America must “keep our promise with senior citizens,” she believes that Social Security must be overhauled. 

Meanwhile, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman told Jan Crawford of CBS News that Perry’s words will cost Republicans the election should Perry be nominated. Republicans “may as well hang up the election,” Huntsman said, according to one of Crawford’s tweets

Other things to look for in Monday night’s debate include disapproval and debate regarding Obama’s jobs plan, whether Bachmann and other candidates can regain some of their momentum, and how Rep. Ron Paul of Texas will do in front of a tea party audience

A CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows Perry has a 12 percentage point lead over Romney. His greatest strong point may be the public’s belief that he has the best chance of beating President Barack Obama in the 2012 election. 

About 42 percent of those polled say he has the best chance of being elected; 26 percent say Romney has the best chance.

The survey shows Perry ahead with 30 percent of Republican and independents’ support with Romney coming in second with 18 percent. 

Rep. Michele Bachmann has slid back with only four percent of the votes of the latest poll. Her support has declined from earlier numbers where she was in a double digit range right behind Romney. 

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