THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Aug. 8, 2012 -
David Royse, The News Service of Florida
As a new Mitt Romney ad gloomily lays out the sad state of Florida's economy, Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he'll keep talking up the good news of an improving economic picture, brushing aside questions about a whether Republicans should have a more unified message.
"My job is to continue to talk about what we're doing in Florida and the fact that we're headed in the right direction, and that we're going to continue to do well," Scott told reporters on Tuesday.
That's not the message of GOP presidential candidate Romney's new Florida ad, which begins with President Obama talking about the need to improve the economy during an Orlando speech when he was running for president.
Then the sad music and dark, fuzzy tones take over the screen, as a litany of economic problems in the state are laid out.
"Under President Obama, 8.6 percent unemployment. Record foreclosures; 600,000 more Floridians in poverty," the ad says. "He focused on Obamacare instead of jobs."
What the ad doesn't mention is that the state's unemployment rate was 10.7 percent a year ago, 9.4 percent a month after President Obama took office, and when Gov. Scott started as governor it was just under 12 percent – meaning the rate has dropped in the time both Scott and Obama have been in office.
Scott made it clear that even as he prepares to speak at this month's Republican National Convention where Romney will officially be nominated, he has no plans to change his optimistic tone.
"Look at (the fact that) our unemployment rate's come down faster than any state but one," Scott said . "Look at the jobs that have been generated in the last 18 months. Florida's headed in the right direction."
The RNC announced this week that Scott, as the host governor, will have a speaking role at the convention, though Scott said Tuesday he hasn't been told any details. He won't change his message, though.
"What I'm going to talk about is pretty much what I do every day, what I ran on," Scott said. "It's how do we get our state back to work. We're doing the right things here."
Scott did say what the Romney campaign – in more nuanced conversations than an ad allows for – says: that things would be better if Republicans were in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress.
"We need the federal government to do its part, we can't have the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world," Scott said. And he also acknowledged the state still has more to do – but skipped the opportunity to specifically pin that on the Obama Administration.
"We still have 793,000 people out of work, we're not done yet," Scott said. "I want to make sure people can get a job in Florida."