Incumbent Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Waco must have woken up a happy man this week, as Tuesday marked another in a recent run of gaffes from his Republican challenger Bill Flores. During an interview with WFAA, when asked about raising the age at which seniors could reach full retirement for Social Security to 70, Flores answered "I'm not philosophically opposed to raising the retirement age."
Flores later called veteran reporter Brad Watson claiming he had a "headache" during the interview. He said he "misspoke" and asked the station not to air the interview which ran anyway. On Friday, Flores' campaign released a statement saying that "Voters should be assured that I absolutely do not support raising the retirement age for Social Security."
Later in the interview, Flores also says that Social Security needs to be shored up otherwise "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." Flores is 56.
Edwards pounced on this, saying it proves that Flores did not misspeak.
"The difference between Mr. Flores and me is that I strongly oppose raising the Social Security retirement age to 70," Edwards said. "With Mr. Flores, it depends which day of the week you ask him."
The headache line was met with a high degree of skepticism in the national media and 'not tonight, I have a headache' memes swept across national political blogs this weekend.
Edwards summarized some of the latest problems with Flores' campaign in an email to Politico.
"After Bill Flores blamed his position on raising the Social Security age to 70 on a 'headache,' what is next?" Edwards wrote. "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?"
The Edwards campaign has admitted they are down in the polls, but that after weeks of hammering Flores on these issues they are closing the gap. Edwards has also garnered endorsements from the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and the Bryan College-Station Eagle.
This weekend's final financial disclosure forms show Edwards has four times the cash-on-hand that Flores does; $1.46 million to Flores' $300,000.
Early voting began today and runs through Friday, Oct. 29.