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His Poll Numbers Diving, Rick Scott Seeks Help From Snubbed Estate: The Press

| August 1, 2011

Grinning and bearing it. (Jaxport)

On the same day Gov. Rick Scott spent much of the morning talking with reporters about any subject they wanted over coffee and doughnuts, a top aide said the governor next week will begin meeting with editorial boards.

Scott became the first successful candidate for Florida governor in recent memory to consciously skip meeting with editorial boards as he sought the governorship. He did speak with one, at the Lakeland Ledger, but otherwise intentionally skipped meeting with any others – something most candidates would not do.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Monday that Scott will sit down with its editorial board next week, the first time he’s given an interview to editorial writers since becoming governor. The governor’s new chief of staff, Steve MacNamara, told the paper Scott will likely do others – perhaps one a week – after that.

“They made a political decision during the campaign, now he realizes he’s got to do it,” MacNamara told the Democrat. “It’s the realization that there’s more mediums out there he needs to be responsive to.”

Scott has struggled in recent months with low popularity in polls, even as he’s claimed credit for adding more than 8,000 jobs to the economy, seemingly moving toward fulfilling his central campaign promise of getting the state back to work. While the dip has been small and incremental, the state’s jobless rate has dropped since he’s been in office.

As governor, Scott got off to an icy start with the media in general, beyond the editorial board snubs. His first few months in office were marked by clashes with the press handlers in his office and members of the capital press corps over access. Scott also had the misfortune of succeeding former Gov. Charlie Crist, who was accessible to the point that many reporters had his cell phone number. Crist routinely gave interviews.

Scott has recently done extensive interviews with radio stations around the state, and also has been more accessible to the Tallahassee press corps, sitting for a number of one-on-one interviews and doing short phone interviews, including one last week with The News Service of Florida.

Scott also appeared recently as a speaker at the Florida Society of News Editors-Florida Press Association annual convention in St. Petersburg, where he took questions from editorial page editors. He’s also gotten into the habit (as previous governors did) of holding “gaggles,” speaking to crowds of reporters upon arriving at or leaving events.

Scott’s wide-ranging interview Monday morning that was open to every capital media outlet was relaxed and friendly. Several reporters noted how at ease the governor seemed as he discussed policy issues with the jostling press corps that he’s mostly kept at arm’s length.

“We’ve never done this before,” Scott said. “I thought it was a good idea. I’ve been here seven months.”

Another recent change has been the addition of MacNamara to the governor’s inner circle. Several reporters walked freely through MacNamara’s office adjoining Scott’s on Monday, and chatted with him, a reminder that he’s an insider already familiar with many in the press corps from years of working around the Capitol.

MacNamara, a former legislative staffer who most recently was chief of staff to Senate President Mike Haridopolos, replaced Mike Prendergast, who was named director of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Scott talked a little about MacNamara’s experience on Monday morning, though he didn’t specifically mention media relations as part of the equation.

“I think just because of relationships he has, you know, if there’s an issue, he says, ‘Well, I know this person, I can make phone calls.’ I think that’s helped,” Scott said of MacNamara. “I think the fact that he’s run agencies before, he knows what these agency heads are dealing with, so I think that’s positive.”

Scott also noted Monday morning that when he ran for governor in 2010, he was unprepared for the level of press interest, and remembered his first trip to Tallahassee to sign paperwork for his candidacy. He was pressed against a wall by a phalanx of reporters. On another visit to the Capitol before he was elected, Scott was reportedly stunned that reporters would try to follow him into Capitol elevators to ask him questions.

“I never knew what a gaggle was, and I never asked,” Scott said. When he paid his filing fee at the Division of Elections last year, he found out.

“I was just shocked at how many people were asking questions all of a sudden,” Scott said. “I had never done it before. But I figured out what a gaggle was. But I hadn’t been in Tallahassee that much. That was fun.”

–David Royce, News Service of Florida

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14 Responses for “His Poll Numbers Diving, Rick Scott Seeks Help From Snubbed Estate: The Press”

  1. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Scott doesn’t strike me as someone who gives a darn what the press/media think or say. He’s not like dems who live and die by focus group. He’ll do what’s right and let the chips fall were they may.

  2. palmcoaster says:

    Please LAC, no for nothing R. Scott is rated the lowest approved governor in the country. That is why he send his robot calls once a week to my home line, asking for support. I never received these unsolicited disruptive calls from Charlie Christ while in office.This dude is fried and he knows it!
    Hope the press return to him “the special well deserve misstreatment” that they received from Scott as soon as he got his seat. Please do not make his bed, all of you reporters out there! Do as I do, I hang up on his robot calls every week.

  3. John Smith says:

    Well I really have to agree with you, Scott does not care. And oh what a leader because after the chips fall where they may he will just walk away with his retirement from government and will not care what they say.

  4. John Boy says:

    This Frauster belongs in jail, he is probably the most corrupt Govenor in Florida’s history. His outsoucing of everythingis directly related to campaign contriitions and private investments. Private prisions, medical testing, airport security, Sktcaps,etc are all the results of bribes (campaign funding) by companies now getting the contracts. He is a one term terrorist.l.

  5. palmcoaster says:

    Perfect description John Boy. These newly elected wave of Tea GOP candidates like Governor Scott are nothing more than financial terrorist preying on the middle class, our tax paid services workers and the small businesses.

  6. Mike says:

    I can thank God he will only be a one term governor. But what damage he will do in the remaining time he is in office is yet to be seen.

  7. palmcoaster says:

    Lest demand by referendum that Recall provision will be placed in the Florida constitution.

  8. lawabidingcitizen says:

    You guys should thank your lucky stars that you have got a governor who doesn’t care what the media say or do. When this mess in Washington is over and we get the RINO’s and lefties out of office, Florida will be one of the states not on the ropes.

    BTW – What possible grounds do you think there are for a recall?

  9. Jack says:

    …and Florida will be worse off. Texas hasn’t been in the media much, but they are facing a huge budget crisis no thanks to Republican state legislators. Florida faces the same dismal future.

  10. mara says:

    Rick Scott is a felon who is, IMO, completely unfit to serve this state’s highest office. He is hell-bent on taking Grover Norquist’s “drown government in a bathtub” wish to the state level. Left to his own devices, Scott will make it uninhabitable to work and/or live here.

    I’d like an honest, reality-based answer from Scott supporters as to exactly what they think that his cutting service after service after service, without revenue increases to accompany it, is going to accomplish. From where I sit, joblessness, homelessness and crime are about to spike. Particularly since they are not now–and never were–a majority.

  11. palmcoaster says:

    Thank you Jack for the eye opener. I just happen to see their Governor Perry all bla bla bla in MSNBC or Fox I think was, about the successful and progressive Texas economy where he spoke that the reason for that growth is the total deregulation for corporations and open benefits to the private businesses in Texas, that employ all their work force.
    What a lying dog this Perry is…..
    No wonder the market took a 513 points dive today. No jobs no GDP growth while House Chair Bohener says he got 98% of what he wanted on the debt ceiling deal. Crooks.

  12. lawabidingcitizen says:

    The explosion of so-called services aka entitlements is what caused the economic downtown and voting in more lefties who promise shirkers they’ll confiscate more workers’ money will cause the economy to tank to the breaking point — not too far away now.

    Boehner and most of the rest of the Republican leadership in congress are RINO’s and must be ousted along with most of the Dems.

    We need conservatives to restore our country to self-sufficiency — whiners take note.

  13. palmcoaster says:

    LAC, I disagree, we not only have the 3 wars over spending, and two started by Bush, but also Bush further tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations did not create any jobs further more unemployment and a lack of needed revenue. Stop blaming the entitlements, unions and workers.Bunch of BS.

  14. lawabidingcitizen says:

    Check out the unemployment rate under Bush. Companies started going overseas decades ago when union demands became over-the-top impossibly expensive. You couldn’t afford to buy a t-shirt made by union labor in the U.S. All the big corporations/Wall St. fat cats, etc. are Democrats feeding at the trough just like the lowliest entitlement baby.

    The “wealthy” depending on where you draw that line are already paying the lion’s share of taxes with more than 50% of our fellow citizens paying zero ($00.00) in taxes just like Obama’s pal, Immelt, head honcho of GE, which also paid zero in taxes.

    Wars are sometimes necessary. Remember the attacks on 9//11/01?

    Learn the facts. They are most times contrary to your knee-jerk reactions.

    Here’s an excellent example of a union in action you won’t find on this blog or in the local liberal paper and be sure to read the comments at the end of the article.

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