Perry walks back his book’s rhetoric on Social Security

Chris Moody

Texas Gov. Rick Perry sets plenty of restrictions on the proper role of the federal government in his book, "Fed Up!," but now it seems the Republican presidential candidate may not hold himself to some of the ideals he put forward in his 2010 brief for states' rights.

Faced with questions about Perry's views on Social Security, campaign spokesman Ray Sullivan told the Wall Street Journal this week that the book, published about a year before Perry announced his intention to become president, was written "as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto."

The book "is a look back, not a path forward," he added.

That, however, is not exactly in line with how the book presents itself. The foreward, (written by presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, now Perry's opponent), calls it a "handbook" within the first few pages.

"Every American has a duty to rein in the out-of-control federal government," Gingrich wrote last year. "Fed Up! is your handbook."

Perry devotes an entire chapter to the future--the title is "Retaking the Reins of Government: Freedom and Federalism for the Future"-- in which he outlines specific policy proposals he wants to see put into effect.

Now, as the Journal reports, the campaign is starting to soften its tone. Perry's writings on Social Security, a program he calls in the book "a crumbling monument to the failure of the New Deal" that was passed "at the expense of respect for the Constitution," may not be his rallying cry throughout Iowa and New Hampshire.  The Journal writes that since he launched his campaign, Perry has "tempered his Social Security views."

From the article:

"The governor wants to see the benefits for existing retirees and those close to Social Security be strongly protected," Mr. Sullivan said. Beyond that, "he believes a full review and discussion of entitlement reforms need to be had, aimed at seeing that programs like Social Security and Medicare are fiscally responsible and actuarially sound."