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Gov. Rick Scott sounds like Rick Perry fan

Gov. Rick Scott said he intends to stay on the sidelines indefinitely in the presidential race, but it's pretty obvious where his heart resides.

First of all, he says he prefers governors. So scratch Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and all the others who have never been chief executives.

Second, the former health care executive has said Mitt Romney's health care reform efforts in Massachusetts, which included individual mandates, were wrongheaded. Definite strike against Romney, though Scott contributed to Romney's presidential campaign in 2007.

Third, the governor is forever talking about the terrific job Rick Perry has been doing in Texas, and how he wants to emulate and surpass him to make Florida the No. 1 state for job growth. He may not endorse a candidate, but clearly Rick Scott is a Rick Perry guy.

Given Scott's lousy poll numbers, the only question is whether Perry would prefer to keep that a secret.

Tidying up, ripping up office costly

A little more than halfway through Scott's first year in office, the state has spent $79,805.69 to expand his chief of staff's office, paint walls, and replace carpet elsewhere in the first-floor executive suites.

Asked about spending money on renovations while the state budget is being cut, Scott said, "It's a normal process they go through where DMS does this."

"They're really the landlord," Scott told the Times/Herald, referring to the Department of Management Services. "They do this every 10 years. They do new paint and carpet."

Jack Miles, the head of the department, said his department encouraged the Governor's Office to paint and recarpet in way that would "ensure uniformity and cost-effectiveness." Miles didn't mention a 10-year cycle, but did say the generally accepted replacement schedule for "commercial carpet" is seven years.

"The carpet in the Governor's Office received above-average foot traffic and the carpet seams were in a frayed and worn condition, which would soon have become a tripping hazard," Miles said in a letter to the Times/Herald.

Neither Miles nor Scott offered an explanation for expansion of the new chief of staff's office, which cost $11,063.95.

The Governor's Office did provide other context, though. Included in a public records request for renovation bills were 42 pictures of stains on the carpet, around toilets and on the wall.

They offered estimates of the renovations during Gov. Jeb Bush's term, which totaled $157,500.

Scott's team also provided a list of various renovations and improvements made in the offices of fellow Republicans on the first floor of the Capitol as well as in the Legislature.

According to the list, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman's office this year received $108,604 in renovations, including $85,973 in new carpet. Offices for the Republican-controlled Legislature received $200,000 in new carpet.

On the tube

Check out Republican U.S. Senate candidate Craig Miller, former chief executive of Ruth's Chris Steak House, on Political Connections on Bay News 9 today at 11 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Payroll tax cut fans

Here's something all the candidates for U.S. Senate — Republican and Democrat — actually agree on: extending the payroll tax cut. Though Republican leaders in Congress are balking, every Senate candidate (except Mike McCalister, who did not respond) said he would extend it.

Quote of the week

"I love Florida. It's like a microcosm of the whole nation. You wake up in the morning, you're in Little Havana. You go to breakfast, and it looks like you're in a neighborhood in Brooklyn. Drive a couple of hours, and it looks like you're in the Midwest, and then you drive a couple hours more, and you're in the Deep South."

Mitt Romney, speaking in Tampa Friday.

Staff writers Michael Bender and Janet Zink contributed to this week's Buzz.

Winner of the week

David Bitner. Lou Gehrig's disease is forcing the Florida Republican Party chairman to step down earlier than he expected or hoped. It's hard to imagine how he could have faced the battle while leading the party with more grace, dignity and grit.

Loser of the week

George LeMieux. Former state GOP chairman Jim Greer, awaiting trial and accused of using a secret straw company to steal tens of thousands of dollars from the party, went on local TV last week to say LeMieux was the one who came up with the idea for that company. Hogwash, LeMieux responds. Either way, it's the last thing LeMieux wants to be explaining amid a tough Republican U.S. Senate primary.

Gov. Rick Scott sounds like Rick Perry fan 09/04/11 [Last modified: Sunday, September 4, 2011 1:29pm]

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