BOSTON — A day after they clashed at a GOP presidential debate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told conservatives in rival Mitt Romney's home state that their former governor sounds like a liberal.
And without naming him directly, Perry said Romney has changed his position on Social Security.
"Other candidates in this race have used words like 'fraud' and compared it to a criminal enterprise," Perry said, referencing language Romney used in his book to discuss issues involving Social Security. "Under the media spotlight, they change their tune and they start sounding like liberals."
Perry made the comments at a dinner hosted by a Massachusetts conservative think tank, roughly a mile from Romney's campaign headquarters.
He did not clarify how Romney sounds like a liberal, nor did he take questions from voters or reporters.
Just 24 hours earlier at a Florida debate, Romney jabbed Perry for describing Social Security as a Ponzi scheme. Perry did not repeat the Ponzi scheme reference Tuesday, but did not waste the opportunity to assail his rival on an issue that has emerged as central to the Republican primary contest.
"The Republican primary voters want candidates who not only campaign like conservatives but also govern that way too," Perry said.
The large crowd Tuesday night, which included many Romney supporters, exhibited no reaction to Perry's jabs. The Texan was featured on the speaking program with former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, a Romney supporter.
Perry had a few nice things to say about the Bay State as well.
"I know I can be hard on Massachusetts from time to time — in particular Massachusetts politicians. But I'm remiss if I didn't acknowledge that from time to time, we've gotten some really great help from this state," he said. "I have a deep appreciation for your history. This is truly the cradle of American liberty."
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