Florida Senate candidate and current state Senate president Mike Haridopolos issued a statement Wednesday afternoon clarifying his stance on Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan and cuts to Medicare.
The statement walks a fine line between supporting the budget proposal and promising to protect the incredibly popular entitlement program in the state of Florida.
“While I support almost every provision of the Ryan Plan, I believe that it must be amended to provide greater protections for Seniors,” said Haridopolos in his statement.
“Fighting for Seniors is not new to me,” he continued. “One of the main reasons I fought ObamaCare, including passing Florida’s Health Care Freedom Act, is because of the devastating cuts it dealt to Seniors, cutting $500 billion from Medicare to fund ObamaCare-Welfare programs.”
The statement was issued after a conservative radio host in Orlando essentially kicked Haridopolos off his radio program when the candidate dodged answering questions about whether or not he supports Ryan’s budget proposal.
The host, Orlando-based Ray Junior, pressed Haridopolos several times with questions about how he would vote on the proposal if he was a senator today.
A spokesperson for Haridopolos, Tim Baker, told The Daily Caller the radio interview was an “ambush.”
“[Haridpolos] was asked on to discuss the senate session and give an overview of the budget … and the interview was booked through the Senate, not the campaign,” said Baker. “The interviewer went right to the U.S. Senate campaign and that did miff Senator Haridopolos, who was on to discuss the critical issue of the new state budget.”
Rick Wilson, a media consultant for one of Haridopolos’ primary opponents, Adam Hasner, said the disastrous interview raises questions about where Haridopolos stands on the issues.
“Adam Hasner has made it crystal clear: he supports saving Medicare from an inevitable collapse by backing the Ryan Plan,” said Wilson. “Mike Haridopolos won’t give Florida voters a simple yes-or-no answer. This latest statement only digs the hole deeper, and raises more questions about where he really stands.”
A transcript of the end of the radio segment is below:
Haridopolos: … A lot of people are talking about hypotheticals — if they run, if they win. Let’s talk about what I actually accomplished …
Junior: (Laughter) … No, no, no. You’re not doing that, Mike. Every single thing a person talks about when they’re on the campaign trail is a hypothetical. A hundred percent of it. There’s nothing that’s not hypothetical. The only way we know whether it’s going to be true or not is when they get into office is if they follow through on the things they said they would do. That’s why I’m asking you: Would you vote yes or no on Ryan?
Haridopolos: Exactly what I’m bringing up. My point as well. I made a promise to balance the budget, not raise taxes, not raise fees …
Junior: Ok, does the Ryan plan do that? Does the Ryan plan do that?
Haridopolos: Look, the Ryan plan is what’s in Washington.
Junior: Ok, get him off my phone. I don’t want anything to do with this guy. Get rid of him.
Update: According to the Florida-based political site, The Shark Tank, Tim Baker clarified further by telling a reporter that Haridopolos would vote “No” on the Ryan Plan as it’s currently written.