Karl Rove: Rick Perry’s Social Security Views ‘Toxic’

Willis Glassgow/AP Photo

On “GMA” this morning, Karl Rove noted that new GOP frontrunner has many strengths, but Rick Perry’s thoughts on Social Security are not among them.

Perry’s campaign has not backed away from what Perry wrote in his book “Fed Up”  — that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme,” a “failure,” “something we have been forced to accept for more than 70 years now,” and one of many New Deal programs that have “never died, and like a bad disease, they have spread.”  

But Rove pulled no punches today, calling that stance “inadequate.” 

“They are going to have to find a way to deal with these things,” Rove said.

“They’re toxic in a general election environment and they are also toxic in a Republican primary.  And 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,” he said.

Our latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Republicans believe Perry is the challenger best able to beat Obama.  But Rove thinks it’s too early to make that judgment, and that Obama can still pull out an election that is the GOP’s to lose.

Republicans “can blow it,” Rove said, by “having a candidate who could not appeal to the swing voters in this election who are conservative minded independents, latinos and white working class voters…The primary has to be a process by which our candidate is strengthened not weakened and emerges from the end of it ready to conduct a general election campaign for the voters who are up for grabs in this election.”

As for Sarah Palin, Rove still thinks he’ll jump in the race but “wouldn’t bet the ranch on it.”

“It really is inexplicable for her to continue this for as long as she has. If she wants to be a kingmaker there is a different way to go about doing it. And the longer she looks like a candidate and she doesn’t become a candidate the weaker she will emerge out of his politically,” he said.

George Stephanopoulos