I didn’t think Mitt would go here just yet but I guess the last few weeks of polling left him no choice. Not only was he ready with a gut punch on entitlements, here’s the headline of the press release that his team beamed out while this was going on, via HuffPo’s Jon Ward: “PERRY DOES NOT BELIEVE SOCIAL SECURITY SHOULD EXIST.” Boom.

Needless to say, this clip is less an argument about entitlements than a proxy for the eternal “electability vs. principle” conundrum. Perry’s shooting straight to polish his fiscal conservative bona fides and Romney’s angling towards the center so that he can make the “only I can attract independents” case to undecided primary voters when the time comes. Who wins?

Update: A Romney advisor e-mails Ben Smith the following about Perry: “He has lost. No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry program to kill Social Security. Never has. never will.”

Update: Via the Right Scoop, here’s a snippet from another answer on Social Security in which Perry repays Rove’s kindness for this morning’s sniping about how “toxic” his views are. Click the image to watch.