Texas Governor Rick Perry, in his first appearance in a Republican presidential debate since joining the race last month, clashed repeatedly from the opening minutes with his main rival, Mitt Romney on issues such as jobs, health and social security.
Perry called Social Security, which is a financial lifeline for millions of seniors, a “Ponzi scheme” and “monstrous lie” visited on younger Americans who will be left holding the bag. “Maybe it’s time to have provocative language in this country,” Mr. Perry retorted after Mr. Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, challenged him on his characterization of Social Security. “Our nominee has to be someone who isn’t committed to abolishing Social Security, but who is committed to saving Social Security,” Romney countered. “It is working for millions of Americans and I will keep it working.”
Perry also reiterated his skepticism that humans have contributed to climate change. “Let’s find out what the science truly is before you put the American economy in jeopardy,” Perry said.
Perry also clashed with Romney over their job-creation records.
Romney and Perry dominated the 105-minute debate, appearing to leave the other six candidates on the sidelines.
The debate was the first of three in as many weeks, and comes at a time when the economy is struggling, unemployment is seemingly stuck at 9.1 per cent and Mr. Obama’s popularity is sinking in the polls – all of which appears to make the president seem more vulnerable than he was a few months ago.
The nationally televised debate, at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, was sponsored by NBC News and Politico.