Politifact: Scott Brown Flip-Flopped On Ryan Plan Support
According to the Newburyport Daily News — a newspaper in northeastern Massachusetts — Brown made reference to the Ryan plan during an annual luncheon of the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce & Industry on May 13, 2011.
“The leaders will bring forward (Ryan’s) budget, and I will vote for it, and it will fail,” Brown said. “Then the president will bring forward his budget, and it will fail. It will be great fodder for the commercials.”
Ten days later, Brown authored an op-ed in the political newspaper POLITICO that was headlined, “Why I don’t back Paul Ryan’s Medicare plan.”
“While I applaud Ryan for getting the conversation started, I cannot support his specific plan — and therefore will vote ‘no’ on his budget,” Brown wrote.
A “no” vote on the Ryan plan is considered safer for Brown. Massachusetts voters historically lean Democratic, and Republicans who win election are usually moderate.
So in his Newburyport speech, Brown said he’d vote for the Ryan plan, while in his op-ed 10 days later, he said he’d vote against it.
When we took these two comments to Brown’s press staff, spokesman Colin Reed said, “He was making the point in Newburyport that political games are being played in Washington, but was not commenting on the merits of the bill.”
We agree that in his Newburyport comment, Brown focuses on the gamesmanship of budget-writing in Washington rather than on the nitty-gritty of its policy details. Meanwhile, in the POLITICO column, Brown was careful to praise Ryan’s role in starting the “conversation” even as he declared opposition to his plan. These suggest a somewhat nuanced position.
Still, Brown did indicate pretty clearly in Newburyport that he would cast a loyal GOP vote for the plan, even if he expected that the vote would ultimately prove fruitless. Then 10 days later, in the POLITICO op-ed, he made clear that he wasn’t just disappointed by the Ryan plan but would definitely vote “no.”
Honestly, I don’t think this will hurt him in Massachusetts much, but it will be more fodder for conservatives who have been calling him a “RINO” for the better part of a year now.