Alaska tea party favorite Miller explains his position on federal funding

The Anchorage Daily NewsSeptember 24, 2010 

Joe Miller said on a candidate survey before the Republican primary election in August that he wants to eliminate federal funding for education and opposes federal student loans. He's called federal unemployment benefits unconstitutional. His opponents in the U.S. Senate race call him extreme. Miller says he's been misrepresented.

In interviews before the Aug. 24 primary, and in the one brief televised debate held between him and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, his emphasis was that the nation is in financial jeopardy and is headed toward insolvency. He warned of a "sovereign debt crisis" and said the economic riots and street deaths that rocked Greece could be coming to the U.S.

Miller is now the Republican nominee and talking to a broader electorate that includes people nervous about a loss of federal money that supports Alaska's economy. After he won the primary, Miller's campaign issued a statement emphasizing that he would fight for federal dollars for Alaska. He uses words such as "gradual" and "long term" when talking about giving up federal money and shifting programs to the states.

The spokesman for Murkowski, who is now running a write-in campaign to keep her seat, suggested Miller's advisers told him to moderate his "radical" message, given the importance of federal programs to Alaska. Miller says he's just setting the record straight and "the press has completely misconstrued our position on funding."

Miller's opponents, including supporters of Democrat Scott McAdams, are combing through his position statements to use in the campaign. The Alaska Democratic Party last week sent out a statement saying that "last year alone, more than $360 million was invested in Alaska's schools by the Department of Education. If Miller had his way, not a cent of that money would have come to Alaska."

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