Sure, the politically shrewd thing to say is to we have to “save” Social Security. It reassures the old folks without threatening the younger workers who must pay the taxes that fund the benefits.
What the smartest guys in the room crowd apparently missed is that Perry also said this:
“And people who are on Social Security today, men and women who are receiving those benefits today, are individuals at my age that are in line pretty quick to get them, they don’t need to worry about anything. But I think the Republican candidates are talking about ways to transition this program …”
Perry appears to understand something Reagan knew very well: The smartest guys in the room crowd are slaves to conventional liberal wisdom and they are out-of-touch with the values and views of most Americans.