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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Gov. Rick Scott responds to viral Starbucks squabble

6

April

All Gov. Rick Scott wanted was a cup of coffee.

Instead, he got yelled at by a liberal activist about the governor's refusal to expand Medicaid. He got called an "a------." (And it looks like he didn't even get his coffee before leaving the Gainesville Starbucks.)

The whole exchange between Scott and a woman later identified as former Lake Worth city commissioner Cara Jennings was posted online by a YouTube user named Stephen Bender late Tuesday. It's worth watching.

While the governor didn't stop to have a conversation with Jennings at the Starbucks, he did address some of her concerns with reporters after a bill signing Wednesday at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton.

Primarily, Jennings' anger toward the governor in the video is about Medicaid expansion.

"When poor people like us need health services, you cut them," she said.

It's an issue Scott, along with House Republicans, blocked last year when a health care budget shortfall led to a standoff.

"I've said all along that if the federal government wants to have its program, they should fund their program," Scott said Wednesday. "But don't come to the state of Florida and ask us to tax our taxpayers for a federal program. I don't believe in that. I don't go to the federal government and say 'fund my program.'"

But Scott has also doubled down against Jennings, saying she wasn't willing to have a conversation.

"I didn't see the video, but I was there," he said. "She was not somebody you could talk to."

And a statement from Melissa Sellers, Scott's ex-chief of staff turned political consultant, goes further, alluding to details from a 2010 Palm Beach Post profile of Jennings:

“People with radical views tend to not like civil debate. A self-proclaimed anarchist rudely yelled and cursed at the governor," Sellers said in a statement. "She also refused to pledge allegiance to the flag. It’s a free country, but its not at all surprising that an anarchist prefers shouting over conversation.”

 

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, April 6, 2016 5:43pm]

    

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