Bachmann: Social Security needs to be salvaged, not slammed

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Iowa) believes Social Security, while troubled, needs to be retained for current beneficiaries and future generations.

The presidential candidate said Friday that while the program is "in trouble," the federal government has made a commitment to senior citizens that it must keep.

"The United States made a decision 80 years ago about retirement for senior citizens," she told Radio Iowa in an interview. "We have Social Security and we need to work within that system."

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Her comments served as a stark contrast to the harsh rhetoric of one her primary rivals, Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

While surging to the top of GOP primary polls, Perry has defended previous critiques of Social Security, and has maintained that he believes the program is a "Ponzi scheme" and a "monstrous lie" for younger citizens.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is jockeying with Perry for the top spot in the race, has maintained any GOP candidate must be committed to saving the program.

Bachmann said Friday that she wants to focus on "positive solutions" for fixing the program and ensuring it can hand out benefits for the forseeable future.

"This is something we can bring good people together to make this solvent," she siad. "We have to keep the faith with senior citizens, but we also can't deny the future upcoming generations of young people their right to have a chance, too. We can do this."

While supporting reforms to Social Security, Bachmann made clear that she would not back any changes to the benefits currently received by senior citizens.

"They've made their liife decisions in such a way depending upon what they expected was to be an earned income for the remainder of their life," she said.

While supportive of Social Security, Bachmann maintained that she was the true conservative candidate, and that there was a "strong mark of demarcation" between her and others.

"I've demonstrated something that the other candidates haven't, that's a level of consistency as a conservative," she said.

And she took President Obama to task for suggesting during the heat of the fight over raising the debt limit that Social Security checks might be endangered.

"That was irresponsible for the president to do that. He created a great deal of fear," she said.

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