« Milliman releases follow-up report on pension fund, waives its fees | Main | Legislators return with crop of new members and a new tone of cooperation »

Ag Commish Adam Putnam attacks Gov. Rick Scott’s Medicaid move, but has big-spending record


Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam’s headline-grabbing criticism of fellow Republican Rick Scott over expanding Medicaid highlighted just how much the governor flip-flopped on government spending and entitlement programs.

But Putnam has a more extensive record of supporting expensive entitlements and big-government spending.

As a member of Congress from 2001-2011, Putnam voted for budget-busting legislation — including the massive Medicare prescription-drug entitlement program estimated to cost nearly $1 trillion over a decade. Putnam also stuffed the federal budget with hometown-spending and helped override vetoes by President Bush on what the White House called a “fiscally irresponsible” Medicare bill and a $300 billion farm bill.

Now, years later, Putnam called Scott’s call to expand Medicaid as irresponsible, costly and “naive.”

“Throughout my career as a public servant, I have fought for issues important to Floridians based on my belief in conservative values and smaller government,” Putnam said in a written statement.

“I have a strong record of supporting economic growth and ensuring taxpayer dollars are used to support valuable public programs and services,” he said, implicitly drawing a distinction between the Medicare program he voted to expand in 2003 and Scott’s request to expand Medicaid under President Obama’s health plan, which Putnam opposed in Congress in 2009.

The fallout between Scott and Putnam stoked speculation that Putnam might challenge Scott in a GOP primary next year. Putnam’s office downplayed the talk.

The GOP discord —as well as the tensions between each man’s rhetoric and record — is also emblematic of Obama-era Republican struggles. Many Republicans spent big under Bush then became deficit hawks under Obama. They railed against Obama policies, only to tacitly support some of them in the end.

Putnam said his opposition to Obamacare has been consistent.

Scott’s hasn’t.

Scott’s Feb. 20 call to expand Medicaid was an abrupt about-face for a man who campaigned against Obamacare — first as a private citizen, then as a candidate for governor. With low and stagnant polls numbers, Scott’s move was widely seen in Tallahassee political circles as a political move to the center.

Putnam, voicing widespread GOP concerns over Scott, struck quickly in a speech, press interviews, web postings and even a Republican Party of Florida email.

“I think we all have an obligation to look beyond the window of our own time in public life and think about the long-term impact of these policies in Florida,” Putnam told The Tampa Bay Times days after Scott’s Medicaid announcement.

The criticisms — about thinking long-term and leaving politics behind — were said years ago, in 2003, by conservative leaders who practically begged Capitol Hill Republicans like Putnam not to expand Medicare under Bush for political gain.

More here


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

No More Rick Scott

Sounds like a primary to me.


So how many other Republicans voted for the prescription program? Almost all of them!

Florida Republican Voter

We will sit out the election or vote for Charlie Crist if Rick Scott stays.

Randall McMurphy

Adam is against anything that doesn't personally benefit him or his family. He always has been. Give him legislation that allows him/them to make a buck though and he'll support it "whole hog."


He has a strong record of taking taxpayer money and giving it to businesses that he profits from personally. He personally is one of the biggest takers using his terminology.

Phillip Dodge

Make no mistake about it. The RPOF will eat each other for breakfast. If Charlie Crist thinks he can capitalize on it, he's wrong. The Jim Greer scandal opened the door to Charlie's dirty laundry room. The freshest ideas are coming from Roger Stone. If he chooses to run as a Libertarian, it could usher in a viable third party in America. The chemistry in this years gubernatorial race is just right for it. I read Roger Stone's views here:


I will not support Rick Scott for Governor. I'll vote for a dead dog before I vote for Scott.

Harold Monson

Putnam is nothing more than an opportunist! He has never held a real job, born with a gold spoon in his mouth (and Trust fund) only interested in his political climb up the political ladder. He is a mile wide an inch deep.

The real leader and future of the Republican party is Jeff Atwater!


This guy is the living definition of self serving hypocrite who takes from the poor and gives to the rich with no remorse. His only empathy is for himself and those who give him money and favors.

The comments to this entry are closed.