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At breakfast for Rick Scott, prayers for America's 'sick culture'

Incoming Gov. Rick Scott spent an hour this morning at Florida A&M University behind closed doors at an unannounced private breakfast. Scott’s inaugural team said nothing about the private breakfast, but Florida Baptist Witness editor James A. Smith tweeted that many of those attending were Southern Baptist Convention pastors.

After, several hundred people attended a two-hour prayer breakfast in the FAMU gymnasium.

Later, at a larger prayer breakfast inside the green and orange arena where the Rattlers play basketball, Scott, his wife, daughters and mother listened to a blunt-speaking Charles "Chuck" Colson, the former Watergate conspirator who became a born-again Christian who ministers to prison inmates throughout the country.

Scott told the crowd, "I am respectful of all religions" and asked for the wisdom of Solomon say that being governor was not same as a king.

In a somber speech, Colson said America has lost its way to self-indulgency, greed and materialism. The answer, he said, is a renewal of the sense of shared sacrifice and civic duty.

"We've got a sick culture," Colson said. "We've turned our back on God, we're self-centered. We don'twant to make any sacrifices for the common good."

Colson said he has faith in Scott because he wants to reform the criminal justice system.

Former Gov. Claude Kirk (1967-71) was there, along with former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez.

Scott left the Governor's Mansion at 7 a.m. Tuesday for his first inauguration day stop: A prayer breakfast at Florida A & M University.

Departing in darkness, Scott headed toward a waiting SUV, pausing, when a reporter asked if he was ready for the day.

"I'm ready, hopefully the state is," Scott said.

--Steve Bousquet and Mary Ellen Klas with pool reports.