By Mike Lillis - 10/12/10 05:51 PM EDT
Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller said this week that his past is irrelevant to the contest at hand, and he won't be discussing it with the media any longer.
"You can ask me about background, you can ask about personal issues — I’m not going to answer. I’m not," Miller said at an Anchorage press conference Monday. "This is about the issues. This is not about continuing the personal attacks, it’s not about continuing the diversions based in illegal acts. This is about moving the state forward. And that’s our commitment."
Miller, the Tea Party-backed Republican who upset Sen. Lisa Murkowski in August's GOP primary, is running on a platform of fiscal conservatism that includes opposition to such federal programs as Medicare, Medicaid and unemployment insurance.
His family's history, though, has complicated those positions. Last week, for instance, Miller admitted his family received health benefits through Medicaid and Denali Care, Alaska's Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Both programs are funded primarily with federal dollars.
Earlier in the month, Miller, a father of eight, also conceded his wife had collected unemployment benefits after leaving a job clerking for her husband when he was a federal magistrate judge. Miller has said he opposes unemployment insurance because it's not "constitutionally authorized."
On Monday, Miller said the mistakes he's made in the past should have no bearing on his run for the Senate.
"I’m a man of flaws, there’s no question about it," he said. "But I’ll tell you the one thing that I share in common, I think, with most Alaskans is that we want this nation to survive. We want this state to survive. We want our children to have opportunity. We want our children’s children to have opportunity. We want to stop the generational theft."