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The GOP's Rick Scott Problem

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It would have been hard for the Republican Party to choose a better backdrop for its August national convention than Florida. The state economy took one of the downturn’s worst beatings and has had a slow recovery, giving Mitt Romney the perfect venue to make its case that President Obama shouldn’t get another term. If only the state’s GOP governor would get with the program.
Rick Scott has spent the last year trumpeting Florida’s modest economic gains at events, in interviews, and in TV ads, an unusual expense for a governor more than two years away from reelection. On July 15, Scott told Fox News Sunday: “The unemployment rate has come down dramatically. We had the largest drop [in June] in the last 18 months of any state but one.”

The message strays so far from Mitt Romney’s pitch that he’s keeping as much distance from Scott as he can. The men haven’t held a single fundraiser together or shared the stage at a campaign stop. In June, Romney’s campaign asked Scott to tone down his sunny statements, and to say that a Romney presidency would accelerate the state’s growth, say two people with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly. Romney and Obama have been trading the lead all year in state polls.
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