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Romney: Perry can't win nomination attacking Social Security

Published September 10, 2011 2:28 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Presidential candidate Mitt Romney charged this week during a fund-raiser in Utah that Texas Gov. Rick Perry's comments on Social Security being a "Ponzi scheme" make him unelectable and is an insult to seniors.

"Gov. Perry is a good guy [but] he's not going to get elected and the reason is no one in the history of this country has got elected by attacking Social Security," Romney said Thursday at a reception in the Wells Fargo building in downtown Salt Lake City. "Social Security is a good thing. It is a good and moral thing to care for people who throughout their lives have put money aside, counting on that as a retirement plan."

In audio from the event provided to The Tribune, Romney said Perry's comparison of Social Security to something a con man uses is an affront to those who have paid into the system.

"Are the seniors today taking advantage of other people?" Romney said. "What [Perry] did last night was cement the fact that he cannot be elected president of the United States. And so, as that sinks in, how are his remarks last night going to be seen in Florida? Not so well. And we have to win Florida to win the White House."

Romney added that he wants to save Social Security for the next generation.

Romney supporter Danny Morris (Twitter @danmmorris) recorded a snippet of the former governer's speech and gave it to The Tribune because he says Romney makes a valid point and "great distinction" between himself and Perry

"Social security is not a Ponzi scheme, it is an unsustainable program that we need to reform and save for future Americans," Morris said. "We are morally bound to pay those that paid and currently pay into the social security system. Gov. Romney's support of the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act and the Balance Budget Amendment show that he is serious about our debt issues, but also that we have an obligation to the Social Security system and those that depend on it."

Romney's fund-raiser, which asked for $500 a person to attend or $2,500 a person for a VIP reception, was held on the top floor of the Wells Fargo building that hosted the organizing committee for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Romney headed the Games.

— Thomas Burr Twitter.com/thomaswburr