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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott: Florida straw poll 'carries extraordinary weight'



Gov. Rick Scott will stress the importance of the straw poll results and an early primary in his keynote address to Presidency 5, according to an advance copy of the speech provided to the Times/Herald.

"At nearly 19 million people, the population of Florida is larger than all the earlier primary and caucus states combined," Scott will say. "With our incredibly diverse state, Florida is a true microcosm of America. I'm convinced that the Republican candidate who wins Florida will be our nominee for president."

In an interview with the Times/Herald, Scott said he wants an early primary on a day when no other primary is held. "I want to have a separate date," he said.

While that position would violate Republican National Committee rules and possibly cost the state delegates at the national convention in Florida, Scott said he thought the state would avoid that punishment. "I'm optimistic," he said.

The speech, scheduled for 1:15 p.m., is a moment for Scott. It's not controversial; Everyone knows Florida is the biggest battleground in the country. But for a governor who is often associated more with the tea party than the Republican Party, it's an opportunity for Scott to assert himself as de facto head of the party he once campaigned against and rally the troops heading into the 2012 elections.

Another excerpt:

"How many of you have seen the potential of your job or business or your jobs choked, not by competition, but by a government that has no idea how real people live?

"If you've ever created a job with your own money at risk; If you've ever imagined an idea for a business and bet everything to turn it into reality; If you've ever taken satisfaction in bringing about change that helped create jobs and opportunities for others; then you know the experiences that truly matter.

"These are the experiences that propelled our nation to create hundreds of millions of jobs and build the mightiest economy in the history of the world.

"And you should also know this: If you've experienced any of these things, you have virtually nothing in common with President Obama.

[Last modified: Saturday, September 24, 2011 2:30am]


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