Florida Democrats had a quick message (in Spanish and English) for the GOP presidential hopefuls rolling into the state for Thursday's debate: Welcome to the Sunshine State, but hands off the Medicare and Social Security that's so important to Florida seniors.
"Social Security, like Medicare, is something Americans have earned –- we've paid for it, we're counting on it," said Millie Herrera, a Democratic activist and the owner of a marketing and business consulting firm, during a press conference in Miami Beach. "Republicans like Romney and Perry would shred this safety net to bits, breaking a decades-long compact with the American people."
She's referring to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and current Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Romney has a town hall scheduled in Miami Wednesday morning. Perry is scheduled to visit Broward and Palm Beach counties the same day. Both are set to attend the GOP debate Thursday evening in Orlando.
Freddy Balsera, who sits on the Democratic National Committee's National Hispanic Leadership Council, accused Republicans of "rooting for failure."
"This is not a question of partisanship," he said. "It's a question of values and these Republican candidates are making a clear statement of whom they value – and who they are. They care about one job -– President Obama's. Let's show them Florida is listening closely this week."
Last week's GOP debate in Tampa featured a five-minute back and forth between Perry and Romney over Perry's comments in his book Fed Up! that Social Security is an unconstitutional "Ponzi scheme."