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Gov. Rick Scott lights up the Florida State Fair

Gov. Rick Scott's black cowboy boots came in especially handy Thursday as he visited the Florida State Fair in Tampa for the second year in a row. He posed for pictures next to prized heifers and held his 15-month-old grandson Auguste as he worked his way through the livestock pavilion.

Scott and the three Cabinet members ceremonially threw a switch to light the fair's garish midway, and then held a Cabinet meeting where the agenda was lighter than a funnel cake.

Workforce Florida and an economist for the Florida Association of Realtors cited figures showing the state is bouncing back economically -- themes that dovetail nicely with Scott's re-election message.

The governor repeated a favorite talking point of job gains compared to "the four years before I took office" -- obvious code for the years when Florida was led by Charlie Crist, the former governor who may challenge Scott in 2014 as a Democrat.

But the day also belonged to Adam Putnam, the state agriculture commissioner who emceed the Governor's Day Luncheon before a crowd of hundreds of Tampa Bay movers and shakers. For history's sake, Putnam said, "you must buy a deep-fried Twinkie."

-- Steve Bousquet, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau