Texas Governor Rick Perry calls Social Security a “monstrous lie” to younger Americans who’re paying into the system.

Perry, the latest candidate to enter the Republican presidential race, wrote a book titled “Fed Up” that was released last year and he suggested the Social Security program was an “illegal Ponzi scheme.” During a weekend trip to Iowa, Perry repeated that view when quizzed during a stop in Ottumwa.

Perry’s campaign spokesman has told national publications he’s never heard Perry call Social Security unconstitutional. This evening, during a news conference in Des Moines, Perry blasted a reporter who asked whether Perry’s campaign had “backed off” the idea that Social Security should not be “something that falls within” the authority of the federal government.

“I haven’t backed off anything in my book, so read the book again and get it right,” Perry said.

Another reporter pressed the issue, asking if Perry believes Medicare is “unconstitutional” as well.

“I never said it was unconstitutional,” Perry said. “I look at Medicare just like I look at Social Security. They’re programs that aren’t working and we ought to have a national conversation about it. You know, those that have said I’ve said they’re unconstitutional — I’m going to have them read the book. That’s not what I said.” 

In his book, Perry called Social Security something akin to a “bad disease” that was created “at the expense of respect for the Constitution and limited government.”