Milford, New Hampshire (CNN) – One day after refusing to answer whether or not he'd sign House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's controversial budget plan, Tim Pawlenty said on Thursday he would sign it as president – if he couldn't have his own plan.
The comments from the Republican presidential candidate go a step further than what he said Wednesday, when he spoke at a conservative think tank and answered reporter questions afterwards.
Ryan's budget bill includes a provision that would drastically change Medicare for those 55 and younger from a program that pays for seniors' health care into a voucher-like system that would give seniors payments to help cover expenses. On Wednesday, Pawlenty refused to say if he'd sign – or veto - Ryan's plan if he were president.
But after speaking to employees Thursday at Cirtronic Corp. - an electronic contract manufacturer in Milford, New Hampshire - Pawlenty did not hesitate.
"If I can't have my own plan as president – I'll have my own plan – if I can't have that and the bill came to my desk and I had to choose between signing or not , Congressman Ryan's plan, of course I'd sign it," Pawlenty said in response to a reporter's question.
Just before those comments, Pawlenty again praised Ryan and reiterated that he would soon release his own plan, with some similarities and differences.
"First of all, I applaud Congressman Ryan for his courage and his leadership in putting his plan forward. At least he has a plan," Pawlenty said. "President Obama doesn't have a plan. The Democrats don't have a plan."
The former Minnesota governor continued: "Number two, we will have our own plan. It will have many similarities to Congressman Ryan's plan, but it will have some differences, one of which will be we'll address Social Security. He chose not to. We are addressing Social Security. And the Medicare part of our plan will have some differences, too. It will have some similarities also. So we'll have our own plan."
Pawlenty is currently on what the campaign has dubbed a "truth tour" – delivering what may be called tough messages in front of audiences that may not warmly receive his words.
Democrats have been hammering Pawlenty over the Ryan plan. Emails distributed on Thursday by Democratic National Committee National Press Secretary Hari Sevugan said, "Now Day 4 of Tim Pawlenty dodging whether as President he'd sign the Ryan Medicare plan into law after he promised to be the 'truth teller.'"
Now that Pawlenty has answered that question, one group that supports the nation's health care law – called "Protect Your Care" – distributed emails and posted on its website a statement that partly said, " at least Pawlenty had the courage to give a yes or no answer on whether he would end Medicare."
The author of the controversial budget plan told CNN that Democrats are essentially using his proposal as a political scare tactic, though Ryan admitted Republicans need to do a better job explaining it.
"If you're willing to lie and demagogue Medicare and scare seniors, then yeah, they have a political weapon," Ryan told CNN .
"Americans want the truth. They want facts," he added. "And so we have a year and half to get the truth out. Our budget's so clear. It doesn't change benefits for people over the age of 55 and it saves Medicare for the next generation."
–CNN's Kevin Bohn and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report
–Follow Shannon Travis on Twitter: @ShanTravisCNN