by David Safier
If you listen to The Hill, it sounds like Jesse Kelly hasn't been very consistent in his stands on Social Security and Medicare -- damned inconsistent, as a matter of fact. The headline:
And the first line:
After three years of saying that Social Security and Medicare must be phased out, the Republican nominee to replace former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) has reversed course.
The article compares Kelly's current position on his website -- "I do not support privatizing, eliminating or phasing out these programs in any way" -- to his 2010 statements in a KUAT debate, from his own mouth, on camera, stating “Right now, you have to take steps to reform it, to privatize it, to phase it out." (You can watch the video of Kelly's statement here.)
Also mentioned are the recent changes to Kelly's website from mid-April, when he advocated for privatizing Social Security. That's not from 2010; that was two weeks ago. Those statements have since been scrubbed.
Want to know why the Kelly campaign avoids questions and interviews like the plague? (I hear he took only two questions at his most recent press conference.) Check out this exchange with his campaign spokesman ending in "No comment."
Kelly spokesman John Ellinwood denied that there had been any change of position.
"Back in 2009 and today, Jesse has always said that we must honor our commitment to seniors because they've paid into this system and they deserve the benefits — and we will do that," said Ellinwood.
Asked whether that meant that Kelly supported phasing the programs out for future generations, Ellinwood declined to elaborate and said the stance listed on the website reflects Kelly's position.
Exchanges like this should be red meat to journalists. Ask Kelly questions about how consistent he's been in his stands on Social Security and Medicare, and be sure to ask about benefits for future generations. If he answers, you've got a story. If he doesn't, the story is, he refused to answer. (And do the same to Barber -- this has to go both ways. See how he and his campaign respond to difficult questions.)