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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott on horse manure, unemployment and doughnut-eating cops

3

August

Scribbles in my notebook after listening to Gov. Rick Scott's radio appearance this morning.

1.) After making doughnuts in Tampa this morning, Scott spent 20 minutes on WFTL 850 AM in Pompano Beach. Much of the interview was the typical banter we've come to love from talk radio, with questions like whether he put the creme inside the doughnuts and whether or not Rich Stevens, the host, could spend a weekend with Scott in the governor's mansion.

scott-radio.jpg2.) The most revealing moment came when Scott talked about his campaign promise, to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. As we've mentioned before, Scott's promise from the campaign was on top of the 1 million new jobs that state economists said would be created in Florida without any help from a new governor.

But it's increasingly clear that Scott will declare victory as soon as the state reaches the 700,000 mark. Scott mentioned this morning that Florida has added 85,500 jobs during his first six months in office, saying it was ahead of his goal.

"We're ahead," Scott said. "If we keep up at this rate, we're going to have way over 100,000 jobs in the first year. I thought it would take longer to get some of the things I ran on implemented that would have an impact on jobs."

3.) Co-host Dave McBride pressed Scott on the jobs numbers, asking, "How is it that we keep putting people back to work but our unemployment rate doesn't change?"

Scott said the state's unemployment rate, 10.6 percent, has dropped more than any other state in the country since January (when it was 11.9 percent). He noted that Florida is still above the national average, but added that the "the problem" was the federal government.

"I don't think any state has dropped that fast this year," Scott said. "We're still higher than the national average, so we still have a way to go."

"The problem is at the federal level they haven't figured out how to stop spending," Scott said. "We have the second-highest corporate tax rate in the world. Some of the things we're going to do that's going to turn our state around, we've got to turn our federal government around. They've got to quit spending money."

4.) McBride pointed out that unemployment rose in South Florida last month.

But Scott said he's focused on statewide employment figures. "I dont care if its one-tenth of one percent increase, every month I'm focused on having progress," he said. "Every month."

5.) Stevens took a swing at "the media," telling Scott, "I don't know why the media has a problem reporting the facts." (This just before Stevens asked Scott about a lottery story he learned about through the media.)

But Scott wouldn't bite. "They have their beliefs about what they think is important," Scott said. "Part of my job is to get out and talk to people."

6.) Scott did agree with Stevens that change, generally, was a good thing.

"If we didn't like change, we'd still be riding horses and cleaning up a lot of horse manure. I like riding around in cars — a lot better in an airplane." Scott said.

"I like horses, but I wouldn't want to do it everyday," he said. "I wouldn't get around the state very fast. And I wouldn't like the clean-up-the-manure part."

7.) Most of the interview was about Scott's first "Let's Get to Work Day" at Nicola's Donuts and Bakery in Tampa. Stevens asked about the clientele.

"We always hear about policemen and doughnuts," Stevens said. "Was that apparent today? Is that true or is that a myth?"

Scott: "We sold a lot of doughnuts to policemen today."

8.) Like his predecessor, former Gov. Charlie Crist, Scott errs on the side of hyperbole when asked about his lieutenant governor. Crist often referred to his No. 2, Jeff Kottkamp, as the best governor in Florida history.

Here's Scott's take on his running mate, Jennifer Carroll.

"She's probably the hardest-working lieutenant governor in the country," Scott said.

"She works her tail off," he said.

[Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 6:33pm]

    

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