Boston, Mass. — Rick Perry didn’t mention Mitt Romney by name, but in a speech tonight in Romney’s backyard, he took a jab at the former Massachusetts governor for his recent remarks on Social Security.
“When it comes to Social Security, every Republican candidate knows the current system is unsustainable, with an unfunded liability in the trillions of dollars,” Perry said. “Other candidates in this race used words like ‘fraud’ and compared it to a criminal enterprise.”
In his book No Apology, Mitt Romney said that if Social Security was private enterprise run by bankers, “they would go to jail” for how they ran the system. He also wrote that the “the American people have been effectively defrauded out of their Social Security.”
“Under the media spotlight,” Perry added, “they change their tune and they start sounding like liberals.”
UPDATE: In his speech, Perry also emphasized the need to tackle entitlement reform now.
“We’ve had enough talk about entitlement reform,” he said. “In the last thirty years, we’ve had seventy debt and entitlement commissions, [but are] fourteen trillion dollars in debt and counting. We’ve had enough talk. It’s time for action.”
In his remarks touting states’ rights, Perry took time to praise Florida governor Rick Scott (“a brilliant, young new governor of Florida who knows health care intimately well”) and Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who endorsed him yesterday (“absolutely incredible, capable governor”).
In his speech, Perry also tacitly acknowledged that he was speaking to an audience that might lean more towards Romney than to him.
“I know I can be hard on Massachusetts from time to time,” he said, earning laughter from the audience. “In particular, on Massachusetts politicians.”
He briefly sketched the principles that impacted his governing style: “don’t spend all the money,” keep taxes low, have regulations be predictable and fair, and a legal system that doesn’t unduly burden businesses.
After noting earlier his job-creation success in Texas, Perry said, “I’m running to get America working again. One in six work eligible Americans can not find a full time job. That’s not a recovery. That’s frankly a tragedy.”
He attacked Obama’s new jobs plan. “He wants another half trillion dollars in stimulus when the record shows his policies resulted in millions of lost jobs,” Perry remarked.
In another remark directed at Obama, Perry said what the nation needed was not the “rhetoric of change,” but a “record of change.”