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AIF welcomes Scott with open arms, and wallets

Associated Industries of Florida hosted a closed-door breakfast fund-raiser with Rick Scott Friday. For more than an hour, the Republican candidate for governor talked about his agenda for creating jobs, improving schools and having a viable private insurance market in Florida -- an AIF priority.

AIF was willing to allow a reporter to listen, but the company said Scott's campaign vetoed the idea because he wants fund-raisers to be private. "He talked about the business environment in Florida, and how he wants to make it No. 1," AIF's Barney Bishop said afterward. "He talked about helping companies that are already in Florida grow before he talked about bringing companies to Florida."

AIF co-endorsed Scott and Bill McCollum in the GOP primary, and now supports Scott over Democrat Alex Sink. The self-proclaimed "voice of business" is representative of the special interest culture that Scott spent the entire primary campaign bashing, but Scott is saying he wants to be inclusive and listen to all interest groups in the general election cycle.  

Bishop said Sink never had any chance of competing for the firm's endorsement because she refused to fill out a seven-issue questionnaire. "How dare somebody run for governor and think they don't have to answer questions? I'm just flabbergasted," Bishop said.

-- Steve Bousquet