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Scott starts 'victory tour'; Democrats call it 'phony'

As Gov. Rick Scott launched a week-long swing to promote the Legislature's tax and fee cuts and freeze on tuition, Democrats fired back, calling Scott's claims of victory "insulting" and "as phony as his misleading TV ads."

Scott shifted into campaign mode Monday with a planned stop in Jacksonville to be followed in the next few days by visits to Tampa, Orlando, Fort Myers, Miami, West Palm Beach, Panama City and Gainesville. That's every TV market in the state except for Pensacola, which is reliably red and pro-Scott, and where residents are still recovering from record rains last week and probably aren't in a celebratory mood.

"When I took office, Florida was deep in the hole," Scott said in a statement by his campaign. "At a time when Floridians could least afford it, Charlie Crist raised taxes by $2.2 billion and let tuition climb year after year."

Florida Democratic Party vice-chairs Justin Spiller and Annette Taddeo blasted Scott on a conference call, accusing him of protecting business interests, doing nothing to expand Floridians' access to health care through Medicaid and opposing equal pay for equal work for women.

Referring to Scott's "alleged victory tour," Spiller, a Jacksonville lawyer, said about 40,000 people with no insurance are veterans.

"Rick Scott should know better than to take this re-election campaign into Jacksonville where this city has thousands of veterans who aren't able to see a doctor," Spiller said. "For Rick Scott to go on a victory tour is just insulting to those who've been left behind."

Democrats did say Scott did the right thing in supporting in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants, but they called it "pandering" for Hispanic votes in an election year.

Joining Scott on the tour is Jackie Schutz, who over the weekend left her state-paid position as press secretary in the governor's office to be traveling campaign press secretary.