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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott and the WPLG questions he never answered



Miami's WLPG news reporter Michael Putney thought he had scored a coup by getting Gov. Rick Scott to agree to an interview. Then he did what reporters rarely do and sent him the questions. Except the questions were, well, a tad testy. ("Are you clueless...") The interview was called off. Here's Putney's column about it in today's Miami Herald:

"Gov. Rick Scott, a regular on Fox News and lately a chatterbox on friendly AM radio stations in Florida, finally agreed to sit down with me for an interview, for which I was grateful, what with my suspect “lamestream” media credentials. To kick start the conversation I even broke with journalistic tradition and sent the governor the questions in writing. Ordinarily, this is a no-no, but he’s still relatively new to doing interviews. I had hoped he wouldn’t get into that 700,000-jobs-in-seven-years riff. As Politifact noted the other day, he’s done OK with job creation though his claims are a bit exaggerated.

"Maybe I was a bit too direct in my questions. On Tuesday, the governor’s communications director Steve McNamara cancelled the interview, calling some of my questions “insulting.” Too bad, there was no insult intended, just tough questions during tough times. In the interest of transparency, here they are, edited to fit this space:

"• Are you clueless when it comes to accepting money from Washington? You turned down $2.4 billion for that high-speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando and $19 million more to lay the groundwork in Florida for healthcare reform. Yes, I know you think President Obama’s a European-style socialist (or worse) who never met a payroll, but the money you’re telling Washington to keep is just going to other states. Like Texas with your buddy, Gov. Rick Perry, who evidently has no qualms about accepting it. Those federal dollars are largely tax money that Floridians sent to Washington. A lot of us want it back for useful, productive programs. What’s your idea of a productive government program?

"• Medicaid is not only useful, it’s essential for millions of low-income Floridians. True, it’s taking an unsustainable chunk out of the state budget, but is turning healthcare for the poor over to for-profit private insurance companies the answer? Those companies are sure to cut corners serving the old and poor if it’s the only way to run in the black." Read more here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 13, 2011 7:22pm]


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