Perry didn’t have a ready answer, or at least not a persuasive one. Nor did he offer the one thing that I expected from him in the debate: a Perry plan for fixing Social Security’s looming insolvency. A solid plan would put Perry in good standing on the issue and it’s no secret what the elements would be. In 1997, President Clinton and then-House speaker Newt Gingrich agreed on a plan (increasing retirement age, means testing, etc.) that’s viable today. It died when the Monica Lewinsky broke in early 1998, presenting Clinton with a bigger problem to deal with.

Perry had many good lines in the debate, but the overriding issue was Social Security. Not resolving that means it will be top concern in the next debate on September 22, sponsored by Fox News.