Here is a video of one of the Republican debates from Sept. 7, 2011:
This is Ricky Perry and Mitt Romney talking about their individual takes on Social Security. Given that Rick Perry has dropped out of the race I am going to focus on Romney.
0:48- Upon being asked how he plans to discuss social security with people without scaring them, Romney almost immediately flashes contempt. This is clear, but the next question is whether the contempt is directed at the moderator or at “the people”.
0:58- Romney says that Congress has been raiding social security and flashes a coy smile as he does so. This tells me he feels clever about dropping a negative line about Congress, but it doesn’t tell us much about his position.
1:07- “…by any measure Social Security is a failure.” But how do you really feel Mr. Romney? He flashes anger at the end of this sentence, which tells us that he REALLY doesn’t like Social Security.
1:30- “…and we want to care for those in need.” He flashes a smile at the end of this sentence, showing us that he seems to genuinely enjoy the idea of helping people via Social Security.
1:33- “…and our seniors have a need for Social Security.” Romney’s body language as he says this implies that he is trying to convince the audience of this statement. He’s not just telling us, but trying to convince us.
1:36- “…and we make it financially secure.” Romney smiles while saying this. Given his previous tenure at Bain Capital it makes sense that the idea of correcting a problem, as he sees it, with Social Security would give him some joy. We all know that it’s an awesome feeling to pull off a great feat (in our own eyes).
1:49- Romney finishes his statement with a self-assuring gesture. Basically he’s telling himself, “Good job Mitt! You nailed it!”.
My verdict: it’s the truth!
It’s pretty consistent with his campaign points, so it’s not a huge surprise to see that Romney seems to really believe what he’s saying here. He seems to truly believe that Social Security can be “saved’ and he’s just the man to do it. I would like to quickly point out that Rick Perry flashes disgust and contempt pretty freely during his rebuttal, showing us that he sure as heck didn’t agree.