Mike Carlson, Associated Press
Republican presidential candidates former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, left, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry gesture during a Republican debate Monday, Sept. 12, 2011, in Tampa, Fla.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Gov. Rick Perry exchanged accusations today.

Perrys campaign released a statement claiming that Mitt Romneys bay state health care plan cost Massachusetts thousands of jobs, and used a study by the conservative Beacon Hill Institute at Suffolk University to back up their claims.

The Beacon Hill Institute said that the extra financial burden of the health care plan may have cost Massachusetts about 18,000 jobs.

If RomneyCare killed 18,000 jobs in Massachusetts, imagine what ObamaCare will do to a US economy already hurting from too much liberalism, said Perry campaign spokesman Ray Sullivans statement. These government-mandated health schemes kill too many jobs and cost too much. RomneyCares job-killing results are another reason ObamaCare must be stopped.

Romneys campaign denied these accusations and called the Beacon Hill Institutes study deeply flawed.

It is based on the assumption that Massachusetts health care reform caused the rate of health care cost increases to accelerate, said Romneys spokeswoman Andrea Saul, according to the Boston Globe. In fact, health care cost increases have slowed since the passage of reform. This error therefore invalidates the study.

Aside from deflecting criticism, Romneys camp has been on the offensive.

Romney, speaking at a gated adult community in the Phoenix suburbs, reiterated his attack on Perry's claim that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme" and that it ought to be handled by the states instead of the federal government.

"Social Security is not a Ponzi scheme," Romney said in Arizona Wednesday, contradicting Gov. Rick Perrys previous statements to the contrary, according to a piece in the L.A. Times. "Social Security has worked for 75 years pretty darn well. You guys are not taking advantage of Social Security. You contributed to it; it's a savings plan, a pension plan. There are no bad guys in Social Security, so I don't call it a Ponzi scheme."

Today, Romney continued to attack Perry on the issue. The campaign sent out a press release titled Rick's retreat continues on Social Security, and several hours later another titled, Rick's reversal on Afghanistan.

Both listed a series of statements Perry had made on the topics, apparently in an effort to, portray Perry as a politician willing to backtrack on his previous positions, according to Globes piece.