Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican candidate in Tennessee's 3rd District congressional race, favors some privatization of Medicare and Social Security and said he's for term limits, although he thinks voters should decide how long candidates should serve.
Mr. Fleischmann met with the Chattanooga Times Free Press editorial board on Tuesday as one of several 3rd District candidates being interviewed this week.
"I don't think there's a real difference on the issues (between me and other candidates)," he said. "I think the American people are fed up with political solutions. They want entrepreneurial solutions."
Turning to the private sector as a solution to various problems was a common theme of Mr. Fleischmann's comments Tuesday. He said he favors allowing people to use some of the money set aside for Social Security and Medicare in private accounts but did not give a certain percentage to be set aside.
It's a position similar to that of his primary opponent Robin Smith, who was interviewed by the Times Free Press editorial board on Monday.
He also said he favors term limits but that he did not have a position on how many terms a congressman should serve.
"I am certainly not planning on spending the rest of my life in Congress," he said.
Richard Wilson, a professor of political science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga who said he votes in the Democratic primary, said he sees Mr. Fleischmann and Mrs. Smith as the two likely front-runners in the 3rd District race.
"My feeling is Robin Smith is well-connected with many prominent people in the Republican organization in the 3rd Congressional District," Mr. Wilson said. "In Mr. Fleischmann's case, he apparently has considerable personal wealth he's willing to commit to (the campaign) and is well received by another segment."
Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, said Mr. Fleischmann's tendency to stick with private-sector solutions doesn't match up with what's going on in the economy at the moment.
"Look at what the private sector did during the Bush administration," Mr. Forrester said. "It produced the largest financial collapse our country has seen since the Great Depression."
Asked during the editorial board if the government ever should play a role in regulating business, Mr. Fleischmann said the free market will take care of itself. He said he wants to build a "culture of responsibility" in the private sector.
"The free market will ultimately be the deciding factor," he said. "If someone is bad at business, they will fail."
3RD DISTRICT CANDIDATES
Tommy Crangle, Chuck Fleischmann, Tim Gobble, Harvey Howard, Jean Howard-Hill, Van Irion, Rick Kernea, Basil Marceaux Sr., Art Rhodes, Robin Smith, Grover Travillian
Alicia Mitchell, Brenda Freeman Short, Brent Davis Staton, John Wolfe
Don Barkman, Mark DeVol, Gregory C. Goodwin, Robert Humphries, Mo Kiah, Savas T. Kyriakidis
* The state primary is Aug. 5.
Source: Tennessee Department of State