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Is Rick Perry a ‘Scary Guy?’ There was more talk of vaccinating young girls than of saving Social Security at last night’s ‘CNN/Tea Party Express‘ debate, as the GOP candidates—led by an especially vocal Michele Bachmann—leapt on Texas Gov. Rick Perry for the state’s mandating girls get the HPV vaccine. Social Security got its due time, though, when Perry (his rhetoric slightly toned down from last week) called it “a broken system” that politicians were afraid to discuss honestly with the American people, prompting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney to ask just how Perry would fix it.

“The real question is does Gov. Perry continue to believe that Social Security should not be a federal program, that it’s unconstitutional and it should be returned to the states, or is he going to retreat from that view?” Romney asked.

Perry dodged the question, calling for a “thoughtful conversation with Americans, rather than trying to scare seniors.” But “the term ‘Ponzi scheme’ and talk of making it a state program is what scared seniors,” Romney returned.

 “What’s emerging from the GOP presidential debates is a portrait of Perry—painted by his opponents—as one scary guy, a threat both to young and old,” writes MSNBC’s Tom Curry.

Meanwhile, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman chastised both Romney and Perry for relying on scare tactics and exaggerated contention. “The fixes are there,” Huntsman said of Social Security. “The answers are there. We don’t have the leadership.”

Jobs Bill in Congress’ Hands: President Obama would pay for his proposed jobs plan primarily through cutting Social Security payroll taxes and raising taxes on wealthy Americans, the White House said yesterday, as the President sent the detailed bill to Congress.

“This is the bill that Congress needs to pass,” said Obama. “No games. No politics. No delays.”

The administration insists the plan would have no bearing on Social Security benefits or solvency—although not everyone is convinced.

Tuesday Quick Hits: Proper diet and exercise can help with erectile dysfunction, a new study says … Liz Taylor’s 1960′s diet—peanut butter and bacon sandwiches, bread scooped out, washed down with wine? … More ground turkey recalled over salmonella poisoning … And can insulin slow Alzheimer’s disease? 

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(Photo: Mike Carlson/AP)