Ruth: Florida's first lady answers with a glare

Published Aug. 8, 2014

Here's a tidbit about Florida first lady Ann Scott you might not know. She has a glare that could reduce Vladimir Putin to a whimpering puppy.

Mrs. Scott was in Tampa last week to make a campaign stop at the Center For Women, a fine organization that does very good work providing a wide range of programs in assisting women with job counseling as well as substance and domestic abuse issues.

Of course Mrs. Scott, looking resplendent in a bright canary yellow dress, graciously said all the right things about what a valuable community resource the Center For Women is for those who find themselves in distress.

Still, we are in the midst of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign. Since this was a campaign event featuring the wife of the state's chief executive, it seemed perfectly appropriate to ask the first lady just a few gentle political questions. Apparently, she disagreed. And it was right about here diamonds began to melt.

Mrs. Scott seemed somewhat taken aback when asked if is true she and her husband are vegetarians. "We eat a plant-based diet," she revealed.

This seemed odd. After all, if the governor is a vegetarian why in heaven's name would he accept an invitation to King Ranch in Texas for a secret event paid for with money from U.S. Sugar laundered through the Republican Party of Florida, all the while blasting away at unsuspecting animals he had no intention of eating?

Like her husband, Mrs. Scott has mastered the arcane art of the vacant death stare when asked a question she would rather not answer.

Okie-dokie then. How about this? Could the first lady provide any more detail about which U.S. Sugar officials her husband palled around with while on his King Ranch reverie and what issues relevant to Florida agriculture and the environment they discussed?

Surely it was possible the big lug returned from Texas to regale his wife with hysterical stories about what cut-ups all those U.S. Sugar chaps can be. Again, a muted curtain descended as the first lady's flack tried to deflect questions about the King Ranch lobbyist-palooza to the governor's famously unresponsive campaign bunker.

This seemed odder still since the suddenly reticent Mrs. Scott was the closest thing to the Governor's Mansion and her husband's campaign in the room. She may be the spouse of the governor, but she is also Florida's First Campaign Operative, too. You would have had an easier time getting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to start yammering away from the bench.

One more? Since Rick Scott had eviscerated his Republican primary opponent, Bill McCollum, four years ago as a Florida sugar industry pawn for accepting hefty campaign contributions, wasn't it just a pinch hypocritical for her husband to accept more than $500,000 from those very same special interests in 2014?

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By now Mrs. Scott was in full scornful gaze mode. Elizabeth Taylor wasn't this ticked off in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, as the first lady's flack quickly ended the all too brief press availability and hustled her away.

What? Was it something I said?

Such a pity. There was so much more she could have revealed about her notoriously transparency averse husband.

For example, in the morning does the governor prefer orange juice or some 3-In-One Oil to keep all the internal gear-wheels properly lubricated?

After slashing environmental funding the past three years, now months before the November election the governor has pledged $1 billion for Everglades restoration and springs renewal but won't say where the money is coming from or provide any details of his plan. Is that something he discussed with the sugar industry during his clandestine King Ranch conga party?

At Scott family reunions, does the bloodline include Robby the Robot, 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL, Ian Holm's automaton from Alien, IBM's Watson and Michael Jackson's hologram?

Although the governor says he paid his own way to the King Ranch safari to shoot all those critters just for the fun of it, who picked up the tab for his Florida Department of Law Enforcement security detail?

And finally, is there any truth to the rumor the Scott family coat of arms of crossed tofu spears bears the motto: "Gort, Klaatu Barada Nikto"?

Alas, the first lady had disappeared into a cocoon of flacks, minions, apparatchiks and gofers protecting the silent world of Ann Scott.