Romney, Scott surrogates deny message conflict over jobsby George Bennett | June 21st, 2012
Both Mitt Romney‘s campaign and Gov. Rick Scott‘s office are denying a Bloomberg News report that the Romney camp asked fellow Republican Scott to tone down his boasting about Florida’s job growth.
While Romney has been blasting President Obama on high unemployment and flaccid job growth, Scott has been boasting about job creation in the Sunshine State, the home to 29 pivotal electoral votes.
Bloomberg, citing “two people familiar with the matter,” said the Romney campaign was worried about Scott undermining Romney’s message and wanted the governor to say things would improve faster if Romney were president.
Democrats pounced on the story, with Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz saying Romney had “sunk to a new low.”
But Florida-based Romney adviser Alberto Martinez and Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz say no such directive ever occurred.
“The story just isn’t true,” Martinez said. “Our message in Florida has always been that Gov. Romney will make things easier for job creators and get the economy going, contrary to President Obama’s job-stifling policies. Gov. Romney rightly praises governors like Rick Scott for their ability to fight through President Obama’s abysmal economy and achieve positive results. Anyone who says different is singing off their own song sheet.”
Said Schutz: “It’s nice to have even Democrats and President Obama’s campaign pushing a story acknowledging the good job Governor Scott is doing in Florida, but no Romney official has asked Governor Scott or staff to change our message.”
The Romney and Scott takes on the economy were highlighted in a June 4 conference call organized by the Romney campaign to blast Obama’s “hostility to Florida job creators.”
Volusia County builder Marshall Bone ripped Obama’s handling of the economy during the call. But when asked about Scott’s trumpeting of Florida’s jobs picture, Bone said “things are definitely headed in the right direction in Florida” because Scott and the Republican legislature had reduced regulations.
Martinez said during that call that it wasn’t inconsistent to criticize the national economy while praising Florida.
“The problem is not coming from Tallahassee. The problem is we have headwinds coming from Washington, D.C. that are making what should be a robust economic recovery a tepid and slow one, and that’s despite the effort of a lot of people doing good work here at the state level,” Martinez said.
“So I think there’s no inconsistency between what Gov. Scott is saying and what the Romney campaign is saying, which is that if Gov. Scott had a partner in Washington that was helping at the federal level to do the kinds of things that he’s doing here at the state level, you’d see an even more robust recovery.”
U.S. employment reached a high of 138 million non-farm jobs in January 2008. By January 2009, when Obama took office, the recession had eroded that figure to 133.6 million. Non-farm employment dipped below 129.3 million in January 2010, but has since climbed to 133 million — about 552,000 fewer jobs than when Obama took office.
Private sector employment has increased slightly since Obama took office, from 110,985,000 jobs in January 2009 to 111,040,000 jobs last month — a gain of 55,000 jobs or less 0.5 percent over 40 months.
In Florida, nonfarm employment was 7.56 million in January 2009, when Obama took office, and 7.16 million in January 2011, when Scott was sworn in. The state’s employment figure for May was 7.32 million, roughly a 2 percent gain over 16 months.
Florida’s unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in January 2009, 10.9 percent in January 2011 and 8.6 percent last month. The national rate was 7.8 percent in January 2009 and 8.2 percent last month.