A large media crowd descended on Gov. Rick Scott in Davie today after he celebrated the opening of the express lanes on Interstate 595.
But reporters didn’t have questions about the interstate project (the lanes opened a few days ago) -- they were there to grill him about the hot campaign stories of the week: the resignation of campaign finance chairman Mike Fernandez and Gonzalo Sanabria, a long-time Miami-Dade Expressway Authority Board member.
Scott took about three questions before he dashed off to his vehicle and left. From the start of his first answer to his departing “have a great day” lasted about 79 seconds.
Scott shed no new light on the controversies. Here is a partial transcript:
Q: Mike Fernandez resigned from your campaign, now Gonzalo Sanabria has resigned, he says you have disrespected and disparaged the Hispanic community in South Florida. What’s your answer?
A: “Mr Sanabria resigned after he was told he was not going to be reappointed. He voted for increases on the tolls. As you know I’m for keeping the costs low for Floridians. He was not going to be reappointed, he was told that, and that’s when he resigned....”
(Read the Miami Herald's full account of the Sanabria controversy.)
Q: “So this was sour grapes on his part? What about Mike Fernandez? He is very very upset with the direction of your campaign.”
A: “We are doing well. We are going to have record fundraising this quarter. We are headed in right direction. Look at what is happening in our state. Jobs have come back, our education system is getting better, we are almost in a 43 year low in our crime rate...”
Q: “How badly have you been damaged by what happened this week?”
A: “Oh gosh 6.2% percent unemployment. 33,000 private sector jobs in the month of February. 540,000 jobs since December 2010. Look at our education system, our 4th graders, No. 2 in the world in reading......”