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Rubio flip-flop on Social Security?

In a nationally televised appearance on Face The Nation yesterday, Marco Rubio flatly said he was against privatizing accounts. He's held that position for months.

But Rubio once was for partial privatization. In an interview with reporters in Tallahassee on Jan. 27, 2010, he talked how the retirement age will have to be confronted (same thing he says now) then added:

"The other is giving people the option of taking some of their Social Security money, at least a portion thereof, and investing it in an alternative to the Social Security system itself. Again, something that should be available for younger Americans – people, for example, of my generation who need to understand that Social Security, especially as we know it, will not exist for them if we stay on the current trajectory.

Q: Would people put their SS money into stock market and proceed to lose it in a downturn?

"Potentially, but it’s their money. And the second thing I would say to you is, the money they’re putting into Social Security may end up in the same place. It may not be in there for them at all in 20 years if we stay on the trajectory we’re on. I don’t think Social Security 30 years from now is any safer bet than the stock market. In fact the budgeters tell us that Social Security is not sustainable on the path that it’s on, particularly for younger Americans.

So what changed?

"He studied the issue at length and reached the conclusion that the numbers don't make it a viable solution to preserve Social Security and that the focus should be on other areas involving younger workers who are decades away from retirement" said Rubio spokesman Alex Burgos. "This conclusion is based on Marco's extensive study of the fiscal impact and his belief that Social Security must be preserved for future generations. When Marco evaluates policies, he studies important elements like the fiscal impact, whereas Charlie Crist looks at the poll numbers and takes positions based on the votes he's trying to win on a given day."

The Crist campaign, which has endured a stream of criticism about flip-flops, is accusing Rubio of the same. “Not only does Marco Rubio prefer to turn our seniors’ hard-earned Social Security over to Wall Street, but he’s lying about it,” Crist campaign spokesman Danny Kanner said in an e-mail yesterday.

Rubio's campaign says that is no longer his position. Flip flop, or not?