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He went on to say that the proposal was "a Ponzi scheme even by [Texas] Gov. [Rick] Perry's standards," riffing off his primary rival's remarks on Social Security.

Gingrich was speaking at an education forum in New York attended by a number of Republican candidates.

Michele BachmannMichele Bachmann'Real Housewives' producer 'begging' Conway to join cast Ex-rep admires furs amid PETA inaugural gala Why Republicans took aim at an ethics watchdog MORE, who is also running for the presidency, also criticized the plan at the forum, saying it created a "moral hazard."

"There is a morality in keeping our financial promises, and I don't think we should push that off onto the taxpayer," Bachmann said. "The individual needs to repay and be responsible for repaying their student loan debt."

The Minnesota congresswoman also echoed comments by Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Juan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio), who said Thursday he was concerned about the constitutionality of the administration's decision to change rules without congressional approval.

"I believe it is abuse of power from the executive to impose via an executive order a wholesale change in the student loan," Bachmann said.