Knowing When to Walk Back Something You Said:

Knowing When to Walk Back Something You Said:

I happen to find the straight talk and authenticity of Rick Perry appealing in an age when too many candidates focus group their rhetoric or conform and contort their positions to the latest polls.

But there is an art to politics and communication, and it requires an acute antenna which zings in the head of a candidate for public office when a line has been crossed, letting him or her know that the frank talk may be misconstrued by the listener or twisted by an opponent or a reporter.

Perry crossed a line with the Ponzi Talk, and his antenna should be zinging. While he is correct about the demographics and the funding and how politicians for years have raided the fund and stuffed the cash box with IOU’s, the use of the word Ponzi suggests to some that he would, if he could, abolish Social Security.

That won’t fly, and he needs to walk it back and start talking about how to fix the program.

To be sure, he did recently post a piece in USA Today and to his credit, he did not use the word Ponzi. But he will, having used the word in his book, need to make clear that he wants to preserve and protect the system and/or create an even better retirement system for those under the age of 45. And he could, by offering a specific plan to fix the program in a major speech, develop a nice contrast with his opponents, who so far have refused to be specific about how they would preserve the Social Security System.

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