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GOP Riff Over Social Security Heating Up

Republican presidential candidates will be back at it tonight in Florida, for the ' CNN/Tea Party Express' debate - with Social Security likely to feature prominently in the discussions.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's team  has already been papering Florida with fliers, calling Perry "reckless and wrong" and asking "How can we trust anyone who wants to kill Social Security?" 

At the most recent Republican debate, last Wednesday night, Texas governor and Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme." His characterization didn't sit well with Romney, who told conservative radio host Sean Hannity that "Social Security is an essential safety net for the American people. If we nominate someone who the Democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to Social Security, we will be obliterated as a party."

One thing's for sure: This is not just an attention-grabbing tactic on Perry's part. In a book published last year, Perry argued that Social Security was a violation of states' rights and "a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal." During Wednesday's debate, he said telling children "that they're paying into a program that's going to be there" is a "monstrous lie."

"You can't say that to tens of millions of Americans who live on Social Security and those who have lived on it," Romney fired back. "Our nominee has to be someone who isn't committed to abolishing Social Security, but is committed to saving Social Security."

Perry didn't say whether he would preserve the system for current retirees or those about to retire.

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