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Democratic House leader Ron Saunders plays both sides of the track

House Democratic leader Ron Saunders on Tuesday won cheers from tea partiers when he said he had voted against high speed rail. He made the remarks at an event to launch the legislature's new tea party caucus.

On Friday, though, he cheered Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for keeping hopes for the 84-mile line between Tampa and Orlando alive.

"I applaud Senator Nelson for his extraordinary efforts so that Floridians, rather than just one elected official, can determine if High Speed Rail is a good deal for our state," Saunders said in a prepared statement after U.S. transportation secretary Ray LaHood announced the $2.4 billion in federal money originally earmarked for Florida would be open for bids.

The move by LaHood gives local goverments in Florida clamoring for the project the opportunity to win the funds. Nelson has played a leading role in trying to keep the money in the state.