July 21, 2016

Rick Scott gets prime seats in Trump box at GOP convention


via @amy_hollyfield

A day after addressing the Republican National convention crowd, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is back and has a great seat in the Trump family box. We spotted him there watching the convention speakers with his wife, Ann. Big night to get a prime seat with Donald Trump accepting the Republican presidential nomination. Although, looking at the box on TV as Trump is getting ready to speak, not sure if he kept his seat.

--AMY HOLLYFIELD, Tampa Bay Times

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's media tour at the GOP convention


CLEVELAND -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott seemed to relish his presence this week at the Republican National Convention -- especially among radio and television stations.

Scott camped out twice over two days at Media Row across from downtown Cleveland's Quicken Loans Arena. He gave so many interviews that his office had a hard time keeping track of them all.

"He's done around 50," spokeswoman Jackie Schutz told the Miami Herald.

As in 5-0?


The high number is surprising, given Scott's reluctance to indulge detailed interviews in Florida. He routinely "gaggles" -- takes questions from scrums of reporters at his public events -- but his Cleveland interviews were sit-down affairs, held back-to-back-to-back. Scott also held several gaggles, including impromptu ones.

The interviews -- before and after Scott's Wednesday night convention speech -- didn't just boost his national profile. He also spoke to local Florida TV stations covering the convention. He even went on the air in Kansas, the state where he spent his childhood.

And, because no political media tour would be complete without cable news, Scott also hopped on Fox News, CNBC and Fox Business Network -- and had a slot scheduled on CNN.


July 20, 2016

Rick Scott's misleading claim about the economy at Republican convention

Republican Gov. Rick Scott likes to be known as the "jobs governor" in Florida.

Opening the third night of the Republican National Convention, Scott said the United States is struggling on the economic front, and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump knows how to make it strong again.

"Let me tell you why this is the time for Donald to be president," Scott said. "A lot of politicians like to give speeches where they say ‘We are at a crossroads.’ That’s not really where we are today. Today America is in a terrible world, record-high debt. Our economy is not growing. Our jobs are going overseas. We’ve allowed our military to decay and we project weakness on the international stage."

Trump made a similar statement about the economy at a Miami debate in March. Trump said, "GDP was zero essentially for the last two quarters," which rated False.

Our fact-check will focus on Scott’s statement that the economy is "not growing." Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

President Obama speaks to Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Zika


The White House said Wednesday President Barack Obama had spoken by phone to Florida Gov. Rick Scott about a suspected case of locally transmitted Zika virus in Miami-Dade County.

Scott has criticized the Obama administration over its Zika response.

Here's what the White House said about the call:

The President spoke by phone today with Governor Rick Scott of Florida regarding the suspected case of mosquito transmission of Zika announced by the Florida Department of Health. This case would be the first documented Zika infection caused by a mosquito in the Continental United States.  The President recognized Florida's strong record of responding aggressively to local outbreaks of mosquito-borne viruses like Zika, and offered Federal support and technical assistance for Florida's ongoing case investigation and mosquito control efforts. He acknowledged Florida's close coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC for Zika preparedness. The President also noted during the call that in addition to the $2 million that CDC has provided to Florida for Zika preparedness, CDC is anticipating it will award Florida $5.6 million in Zika funding through a CDC grant to be awarded this week.

Take a peek at what Rick Scott and Pam Bondi plan to say at GOP convention


CLEVELAND -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott gets first billing Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, followed a bit later in the night -- when likely more viewers will be watching -- by Attorney General Pam Bondi.

Here are excerpts of what they plan to say, provided by convention organizers:

Scott will speak about the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando "and the growing worldwide threat of Islamic extremism":

“I cried with the grieving moms and dads and brothers and sisters of the 49 people slaughtered by an ISIS-inspired terrorist. This war is real. It is here in America. And the next president must destroy this evil. Donald Trump is the man for that job.”

“Today, America is in terrible, world-record-high debt. Our economy is not growing. Our jobs are going overseas. We have allowed our military to decay, and we project weakness on the international stage. Washington grows while the rest of America struggles. The Democrats have not led us to a crossroads, they have led us to a cliff.”

Bondi will focus on "restoring the rule of law":

“Hillary will stack the Supreme Court with liberal justices who will allow government to continue its rampage against our individual rights with utter contempt for our Second Amendment.

“I know Donald, and he will appoint conservative justices who will defend, rather than rewrite, our Constitution. Are you ready to send ISIS a message that we’re really coming after them? When Donald Trump is president, he will.”

July 19, 2016

Jeb Bush should be at GOP convention for Trump, Rick Scott says

Scott pic

via @adamsmithtimes

CLEVELAND -- Gov. Rick Scott appeared to enjoy himself as he made his way through a gauntlet of TV cameras and journalists at the GOP Convention's "media row" by the Quicken Loans Arena, repeatedly swatting away questions about Melania Trump's alleged plagiarism of Michelle Obama's convention speech.

"My experience with Melania is she's a lovely individual that is very nice to sit around to talk to. She's a wonderful mom, and a  wonderful wife," said Scott. "...I watched what my wife went through, never expecting to be in the middle of a campaign, never expecting to be a politician's wife."

Asked about former Gov. Jeb Bush's absence from the convention, Scott sounded disappointed

"I think he'd want to be here. This is exciting. This is a Republican party that needs to unite behind an individual who worked hard to win the nomination. We have to make sure he wins in November. I do not want Hillary Clinton to be the next president. She would not be good for Florida."

"Any Republican who is not supporting Donald Trump right now is helping Hillary Clinton. I don't want Hillary Clinton to be our next president."

Likewise, he disagreed with Ohio Gov. John Kasich's decision not to attend: "I would be there."

And as for winning Florida's diverse electorate, Scott is optimistic. "The elections's going to be about jobs and ISIS. Those are the two biggest issues in our state. I would talk to everybody....Hillary Clinton has never created a job in her life. If the election is going to be about jobs, Donald Trump wins. If the election is about ISIS Donald Trump wins. She had her shot. She was Secretary of State and she failed to do anything."

--ADAM C. SMITH, Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott, Trump surrogate on RNC's 'Make America Work Again' day


CLEVELAND -- The Republican National Convention has yet to confirm if and when Florida Gov. Rick Scott will speak to delegates. But he's already stumping for presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Scott's name is on a list of campaign "surrogates" the Republican National Committee offered to reporters for interviews Tuesday. The theme of the day at the convention: "Make America Work Again."

Among the other names on the surrogate list are Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and former national GOP chairman and Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour.

Scott was elected in 2010 under the slogan, "Let's Get to Work."

An earlier version of this post misstated Ricketts' state.

July 17, 2016

UPDATED: Conspicuously absent from GOP convention schedule: Gov. Rick Scott


CLEVELAND -- Twenty hours before its first gavel, the Republican National Convention finally released its schedule. And missing from the speakers' line-up is Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott was on the RNC's "partial" speaker list published Thursday. He was supposed to speak sometime Thursday, on the convention's last night. Presumptive nominee Donald Trump will take the podium that night too -- and possibly other nights.

But Scott's name was nowhere to be found Sunday evening. Attorney General Pam Bondi's was: She's slated to address Republican delegates Wednesday night, as expected.

We've asked Scott's political consultant, Trump's campaign and the RNC to explain what happened. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Scott's political consultant, Melissa Stone, says she was told Scott's absence from the program was an "oversight."

UPDATE #2:Stone says Scott is now slated to speak sometime Wednesday.

--with Steve Bousquet

Rick Scott rides Trump's coattails onto GOP convention stage

via @stevebousquet

Gov. Rick Scott was conspicuous by his absence at the last Republican convention in Tampa four years ago, but he had a good excuse: A tropical storm was bearing down on Florida.

Scott will play a prominent role in next week’s convention in Cleveland but finds himself at the center of a political storm that poses risks to his final two years in office and a possible run for U.S. Senate in 2018.

For better or worse, the governor of America’s biggest presidential battleground is also his state’s leading supporter of Donald Trump, the most divisive presidential candidate in decades.

Scott is all-in with the bombastic Trump, even as other leading Republicans boycott the convention or keep a distance from a candidate who has torn his party apart while offending one demographic group after another.

Scott will take the stage Thursday to deliver a prime-time convention speech for Trump, and then goes to work in what polls suggest is an uphill climb to deliver Florida to a candidate reviled by Hispanics in particular, the fastest-growing part of Florida’s electorate.

More here.

July 14, 2016

Pam Bondi gets prime-time speaking slot at GOP convention

via @stevebousquet

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, whose ties to Donald Trump have been a source of controversy, will have a prime-time speaking appearance at next week’s Republican National Convention.

Bondi is scheduled to give a five-minute address at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday on the subject of law enforcement.

Gov. Rick Scott is also expected to speak, as well as former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow.

The exposure on all three major cable networks offers an opening for Bondi’s critics to launch a new wave of attacks over her connections to Trump.

As the state’s chief legal officer, Bondi is the target of ethics complaints over her solicitation of a $25,000 campaign contribution from Trump in 2013. At that time, her office said, two complaints were on file against Trump University, a for-profit real estate school that’s the subject of hundreds of complaints and nationwide class action lawsuits in California and New York.

Bondi decided not to open an investigation of Trump University and urged complaints be filed with New York, which had already launched a probe of the school.

“No one in my office ever opened an investigation on Trump University nor was there a basis for doing so,” Bondi said last month. “I have spent my career prosecuting criminals and protecting Floridians.”

More here.