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Joe Henderson

Henderson: Scott hopes improving jobs outlook helps voters forget gaffes

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Published:   |   Updated: September 21, 2013 at 12:05 AM

The man who made “Let’s Get To Work” his battle cry to become Florida’s governor is feeling a little frisky these days.

Gov. Rick Scott announced Friday that the state’s unemployment rate has fallen to 7 percent, down from 11.1 percent in December 2011.

He shared that encouraging news at an event in Melbourne to trumpet 1,000 new jobs at Northrop Grumman’s Center of Excellence. It’s on top of more than 1,000 new jobs he announced in Tampa earlier this week with HealthPlan Services.

Of course, as the company’s CEO noted, the new hires are needed largely because of the demands of the Affordable Care Act (see Care, Obama), and we know the governor is no big fan of that.

Details.

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But jobs, jobs, JOBS!!! That’s what we need!! And there are more of them now than when Scott took office in 2010. You might hear that once or 12,000 times between now and November 2014.

Home sales are up. Companies are expanding. People are beginning to move past the rubble from the recession — good things, all.

Oh, and that global meltdown that Florida got sucked into before Scott had to ride to the rescue? Team Scott says blame Charlie Crist, since the collapse happened on his watch. As governor, Crist should have been able to stave off the housing catastrophe and collapse of the nation’s stock market because, well, he should have.

So Crist killed the economy and Scott saved it. That will be the thrust of the governor’s argument for re-election. He will dig deep into a war chest that could approach $100 million to lay the blame for everything but Miley Cyrus on Crist’s perfectly coiffed head, especially now that Alex Sink has decided not to run,

A relentless TV blitz worked for Scott in 2010, so he will stick with the plan. The governor will pound, and pound, and pound the point he did exactly what he was hired by voters to do.

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But the Democrats will buy plenty of ads, too, and Scott has a record to attack this time, especially in education.

He also managed to alienate Cuban-American residents. His lieutenant governor resigned under the cloud of a gambling controversy; she hasn’t been replaced. And he isn’t exactly the epitome of smooth.

On a trade mission to Spain last year, he told King Juan Carlos during some small talk before cameras, “I’ve ridden elephants but I never tried to shoot one.” The king was dealing with heavy fallout about going on an elephant hunt while his country was in the economic tank.

Even the news about the drop in the unemployment rate drew a quick rebuke. Democrats argued the state actually lost 4,700 jobs last month.

“This desperate governor has shown he will say and do anything to keep his job. But on the ground in our communities, Floridians know that this governor’s failed policies are only serving to hold Florida back,” state Democratic Party chair Allison Tant said.

Nope, the governor says. His policies are working, and that’s his story.

It’s still a long way to the election, and there is time for more good jobs reports.

News like that, along with $100 million, will buy a lot of amnesia.

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