Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the GOP presidential front-runner, fended off pointed attacks from his rivals during Thursday night’s debate over his criticism of Social Security and his record on immigration.
Anticipating the attacks that came during his previous two debate appearances, Perry sought to put his rivals on the defensive at the Fox News-Google debate in Orlando.
Perry, who has faced repeated criticism from former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for calling Social Security a Ponzi scheme, said Americans who are in the government’s retirement program or close to joining it have nothing to worry about, because it won’t be dismantled.
“Now, it’s not the first time that Mitt has been wrong on some issues before,” Perry said, explaining that he only had said there should be an option to move from the current system to one operated by the states.
But Romney shot back that six months ago, Perry wrote in his book that the federal government shouldn’t be in the pension business and that it’s unconstitutional.
“So you better find that Rick Perry and get him to stop saying that,” Romney said.
Perry Tries to Clarify Position on Social Security
The other seven challengers who participated in the debate were looking to gain ground on the leading pair. They were Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, businessman Herman Cain, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson.
Johnson delivered what was perhaps the best-received line of the night when he attacked President Obama’s record on creating “shovel-ready” jobs.
“My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this current administration,” he said to large laughter.
The Fox News-Google debate, hosted in conjunction with the Republican Party of Florida, enabled the viewing public to weigh in with votes on questions they wanted asked. More than 18,000 questions and 100,000 votes were submitted via text and videos to the YouTube.com/FoxNews website.
Fox News’ Bret Baier moderated, joined by Fox News anchors Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace as panelists.
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SOURCE: Fox News