GOP candidate blames headache for stance on raising retirement age
Call it the headache that changed a mind.
A Texas Republican running for a House seat says a headache caused him to state during an interview that he is open to the idea of raising the retirement age.
Bill Flores, who is challenging incumbent Democrat Chet Edwards in the district where President George W. Bush’s Crawford ranch is located, said in a TV interview this week that he is “not philosophically opposed” to raising the retirement age, as some Republican candidates have suggested.
“I’d have to look at what the actual economics are,” he told WFAA TV’s Inside Texas Politics for an segment to be aired Sunday. “I’m not philosophically opposed to raising the retirement age.”
But Flores, whom the Dallas Morning News describes as “a retired oil and gas executive,” soon changed his mind, saying in a statement that he “misspoke” on the issue.
“Voters should be assured that I absolutely do not support raising the retirement age for Social Security,” he stated.
The Morning News reports:
Thursday, Flores, a retired oil and gas executive from Bryan, called program host Brad Watson and asked him not to air his response on Social Security because he had a headache during the interview and the remarks did not properly characterize his position.
On the show, Flores and Edwards separately were asked if they favored ideas by some Republicans and Democrats to raise the Social Security retirement age to 70….
[Flores] also said, at age 56, Social Security needs to be shored up financially or “there’s not going to be anything there by the time I reach [retirement age.] And I accept the fact I may have to raise my retirement age for that.”
Incumbent Edwards wasted no time in taking advantage of his opponent’s gaffe.
“After Bill Flores blamed his position on raising the Social Security age to 70 on a ‘headache,’ what is next?” Edwards wrote in an email to Politico’s Ben Smith. “Is Mr. Flores going to blame his plan to privatize VA health care on a Dairy Queen Hunger-Buster and blame his company’s having stuck taxpayers with $7.5 million in unpaid government loans to a case of indigestion?”
“Except for one interview where I misspoke, I have consistently opposed raising the retirement age for Social Security,” Flores responded to Politico. “District 17 voters should be assured that I absolutely do not support raising the retirement age for Social Security.”
The following video was broadcast on WFAA TV in Dallas, Texas, Oct. 15, 2010.