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New gubernatorial candidate comes out swinging

Attorney General Bill McCollum barely notices criticism from his GOP opponent state Sen. Paula Dockery. But it doesn't look like it will work with the new kid on the block, health care executive Rick Scott, who came out swinging on his second day of the campaign.

The issue is a McCollum campaign memo leaked to the Scott campaign (read an excerpt below) in which the Republican front-runner told his surrogates to trash Scott in private. Specifically how Scott's company Columbia/HCA defrauded the federal government and paid a $1.7 billion plea agreement.

"That's a typical dirty trick from a typical professional politician," Scott's campaign said in a statement.

Here's an excerpt of McCollum's memo:

TALKING POINTS: Rick Scott Announcement

Updated 4.13.10



Talking Points (Campaign):


  • We respect the right of any Floridian to seek office. Attorney General Bill McCollum looks forward to continuing his conversation with the people of Florida on the future of our state and economy.


  • Floridians are looking for solid, experienced leadership for Florida’s future. When voters head to the polls, we are confident they will support Bill McCollum as the experienced leader who will jumpstart Florida’s economy and create the jobs our state desperately needs.


Talking Points (Off the Record/Surrogates):


  • Rick Scott was the CEO of the health-facility operator Columbia/HCA when the company pleaded guilty to charges that it defrauded Medicare and Medicaid – and ended up settling these felony charges by paying a record $1.7 billion dollars in a plea agreement with the government.


  • Rick Scott was ousted by Columbia/HCA for his role in the biggest healthcare fraud in U.S. history.


  • Having cost his firm an excess of $1 billion, Rick Scott now apparently believes he can run a state with a budget of nearly $70 billion. He’s going to have a lot of explaining to do to Florida voters before anyone takes his candidacy for governor seriously.