CNN: Is Perry a 'Bomb Thrower' for Calling Social Security a Ponzi Scheme?

The day after the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, CNN asked if Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry was being a "bomb thrower" for vilifying Social Security as a Ponzi scheme.

After playing a clip of Perry calling the program a "monstrous lie" and a "Ponzi scheme," CNN's Kyra Phillips teed up Democratic strategist Maria Cardona with this question: "Bomb thrower or truth teller, Maria?" Cardona predictably replied that Perry was a "bomb thrower."

The network zeroed in on Perry's remarks Monday morning, in anticipation of Monday night's CNN/Tea Party debate in Florida. CNN's Jim Acosta hyped that the event could be a "Social Security smackdown in a state where the program is crucial to seniors."

Kyra Phillips also asked if Perry could even remain popular in Florida after his remarks, and noted that former Bush senior advisor Karl Rove criticized his words.

"Well tonight eight presidential candidates square off in Florida, a key battleground state and one filled with millions of older Americans who depend on Social Security. So now the question is, how popular will Rick Perry remain after blasting it?" Phillips asked.

A transcript of the segments, which aired on September 12, are as follows:

CNN
NEWSROOM
9/12/11
9:01 a.m. EDT

JIM ACOSTA, CNN correspondent: With the rest of the field looking to play catch-up, the CNN Tea Party debate in Florida could be a Social Security smackdown in a state where the program is crucial to seniors.

(Video Clip)

RICK PERRY, Republican presidential candidate: It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today you paying into a program that's going to be there –

(End Video Clip)

(...)

[9:14]

KYRA PHILLIPS: Well tonight eight presidential candidates square off in Florida, a key battleground state and one filled with millions of older Americans who depend on Social Security. So now the question is, how popular will Rick Perry remain after blasting it?

(...)

PHILLIPS: Well even Republican strategist Karl Rove says those comments are out of line.

(Video Clip)

KARL ROVE, Republican strategist: They're toxic in a general election environment, and they're also toxic in a Republican primary. I mean if you say Social Security is a failure and ought to be replaced by a state-level program, then people are going to say what do you mean by that, and make a judgment based on your answer to it.

(End Video Clip)

(...)

[10:22]

KYRA PHILLIPS: Alright guys, Rick Perry on Social Security. Take a listen.

(Video Clip)

PERRY: It is a monstrous lie. It is a Ponzi scheme to tell our kids that are 25 or 30 years old today you paying into a program that's going to be there –

(End Video Clip)

PHILLIPS: Bomb thrower or truth teller, Maria?

MARIA CARDONA, Democratic political strategist: Definitely bomb thrower, Kyra.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014