Mitt Romney’s campaign reportedly reached out to Florida Gov. Rick Scott to ask him to tone down his statements celebrating Florida’s increasingly rosy economic news. Here are several releases from Scott’s office that could have been the catalyst for Romney’s panic.
While Florida’s unemployment rate remains above the national average at 8.6 percent, Scott’s administration is eager to tell Floridians that the state’s economy is looking up. On April 20, Scott trumpeted that unemployment for March 2012 declined from 9.4 percent to 9 percent, the largest monthly unemployment drop in the state since 1992. Scott called the news a “milestone all Floridians can celebrate.” The press release’s headline read: “SURGING JOBS AND SHRINKING UNEMPLOYMENT SHOW FLORIDA’S ECONOMY HEADING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.”
In May, Scott celebrated that the state’s April jobless rate moved to its lowest point in more than three years, calling it a “clear sign we are moving Florida in a direction that gives businesses and job creators the confidence they need to grow and expand.”
Florida’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.6 percent in May. “Florida’s continued steady decline in unemployment shows that Florida is on the right track,” Scott said in a release on June 15.
Each employment release includes charts showing Florida’s unemployment rate falling faster than the national rate. Earlier this year, despite Florida’s high unemployment rate, Scott used his annual address to give Floridians credit for the state’s job growth. “When I said, ‘Let’s get to work,’ it wasn’t just a slogan,” he said.
Last August, Scott revived the state’s “Let’s Get To Work” days. Scott traded the suit of a politician for shirtsleeves and blue jeans. He has sold doughnuts, picked oranges, volunteered at the Tampa International Airport and, just a few days ago, worked as a ranch hand with the Williamson Cattle Company in Okeechobee.
On Scott’s Facebook page, the governor asks users to “like” his posts promoting job growth. On June 15, Scott asked if he could get 800 “likes” to mark Florida’s lowest unemployment rate in four years. So far, he has received 2,559.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com