Another Day, Another Rick Scott-Charlie Crist Battle Royal

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: May 16, 2014 3:55 AM
Rick Scott and Charlie Crist

Rick Scott and Charlie Crist

Gov. Rick Scott and former Gov. Charlie Crist dug in on Thursday as they continued to exchange attacks in the increasingly combative Florida gubernatorial race.

Crist was scheduled to speak at the Council of 100‘s meeting in Orlando on Thursday morning but it was canceled at the last minute. Crist insisted Scott backers spiked the appearances and maintained the council was “apparently afraid of the political ramifications of upsetting Rick Scott."

In his prepared remarks for the Council of 100, Crist went on the attack, hitting Scott on several fronts.

“I am running for governor for one simple reason: Tallahassee is broken, and it is time to put the people back in charge,” Crist said in the prepared speech. “Quite simply, our state needs and deserves a governor who will wake up every day thinking about people like you, who will govern honestly and with the state’s collective best interests in mind, and who will make this economy more fair for hard-working business owners and taxpayers. And we need a governor who will refocus the state on things that are important to all Floridians: good schools, affordable health care, respect for our environment and dignity for our seniors.”

Despite unemployment rocketing under his watch from 3.5 percent to more than 11 percent before declining under Scott, Crist attacked the Republican on the economy.

“We have an economic plan led by Gov. Scott that consists of flying in his private plane to hold press conferences to tout job growth that he had literally nothing to do with,” Crist said. “It might be a good plan for getting re-elected, but it’s not a road map for long-term economic growth. And Florida’s economy has suffered as a result.”

Crist accused Scott of “embracing the ideological fringes, taking care of his friends, bullying his opponents, hiding from the public and press and running from tough issues” and who is “trying to bully me by waving his $100 million checkbook and by running a daily smear campaign about my life and career.”

The former governor attempted to explain away his recent party changes. Despite winning three statewide elections as a Republican, Crist left the GOP in 2010 after being caught by Marco Rubio in the U.S. Senate primary. Continuing his Senate bid with no party affiliation, Crist placed a distant second to Rubio in the general election. After endorsing President Barack Obama for a second term, Crist joined the Democrats in December 2012.

“We can go in a new direction that embraces common sense and optimism –- and one that rejects the nasty tone of today’s politics,” Crist said. “Yes, we can choose a direction that is inclusive, one where ideas trump money and power, one that says no one or no party has a monopoly on good ideas, and one that is willing to bring people together to find common-sense solutions to the problems we face.”

“We deserve a governor who will listen to his opponents, not demonize them,” Crist added. “

"Rick Scott, like this gang in Washington and here in Florida seem to think the only way to govern is from the fringes. That anyone who doesn’t agree with them on everything is an enemy or worse yet, somehow less patriotic. That is why Washington is so dysfunctional and why state government here has lost its way. When the people give you the honor of being their governor – you aren’t the governor of one party, you’re the governor for all Floridians. No matter what they say, it is not a sin to reach across the aisle –- it is your obligation.

“So yes, I am running as a Democrat –- proudly,” Crist insisted despite making two party changes in the last four years. “But to every independent and Republican who feels we are losing our way –- please join us. We will not agree on everything –- nor should we. But the principles that unite us as Americans and Floridians will always be more compelling than the issues that divide us. Rick Scott doesn’t get that –- but I know you do.”

Speaking at Busch Gardens in Tampa to the media on tourism, Scott said he had nothing to do with the Council of 100 canceling Crist’s appearance. The Scott campaign also insisted they had nothing to do with the cancellation, and Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera said the same thing during a conference call with the media on Thursday morning.

“I don't have any knowledge of anything like that happening," Lopez-Cantera said. "Charlie is all talk, so if he wants to talk, he's welcome to talk.

“ All he is is talk, talk, talk,” Lopez-Cantera added. “He can talk out of both sides of his mouth like he always does, and he's welcome to it."

Lopez-Cantera spoke with the media on Thursday to showcase a new website from the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF). The new site -- CutAndRunCrist.com -- had been run by the Florida Democratic Party but they let the rights expire, allowing the RPOF to come in and swoop it up. This is the third old Democratic website the RPOF has relaunched. The site features quotes attacking Crist from leading Democrats.

“When Florida lost over 830,000 jobs and saw its unemployment rate triple, thanks to Charlie Crist’s failed leadership, he didn’t stick around to help Florida families,” Lopez-Cantera said. "Instead, he tried to run away to Washington. And when he did, Florida Democrats aggressively reminded voters that Charlie Crist was only out for himself. By relaunching this website, we’re happy to let Democrats make the case against the man they’ve now embraced as their party’s choice for governor.”

“We hope Charlie Crist speaks in every corner of the state,” said Greg Blair, a spokesman for the Scott campaign. "The more he speaks, the clearer it becomes that Crist is only focused on talk, while Rick Scott is focused on action. Crist’s record of failure is a great contrast with Gov. Scott’s record of success.”

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments (9)

shirley george
5:53PM MAY 28TH 2014
Rick Scott is toast in Florida,, read the blogs and listen to the people..
We need a Governor for the people and by the people. Not a rich man we can't trust. Free Scott from Florida...
W Pond
10:03PM MAY 20TH 2014
Charlie is talk, talk, talk and tan.
12:38PM MAY 17TH 2014
Scott founded Columbia Hospital Corp, which then merged with Hospital Corp of America, forming Columbia/HCA. He was appointed CEO when this merger went through.

He received a vote of no confidence from the Board of Directors and was asked to resign as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 after the company admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million, which was the largest fraud settlement in US history; Scott took the 5th over 70 times during his questioning.

Scott on jobs: "Florida is going to come nowhere near exceeding normal job growth by 700,000 in seven years, no matter how you define it or time it," said David Denslow, a retired University of Florida economist.

Scott promised an economy better off because of his policies, but many of his ideas from the campaign did not survive, said Rollins College economics professor William Seyfried.

Economists doubt he will reach his original goal — and that's putting aside an argument about how much his policies affect job growth.

Scott's latest double talk: “The bottom line is, I could argue that I don’t have to create any jobs,” Scott said on 540-AM in Maitland. “I just have to make sure we don’t lose jobs.“

Putting ideology over the welfare of Floridians, rejected the billions in federal aid that would flow to the state. The state was slated to receive more than $7.5 billion for schools, roads and other projects under the American Jobs Act. The White House estimates that the funds under the plan would support more than 60,000 jobs in Florida, including those held by teachers, cops, and firefighters.

Continue to spin yarns about Scott. The one thing he proved is that knows how to mastermind a fraud.
Zeta Toulouse
4:03PM MAY 16TH 2014
All Cantera does is talk - and talk and says nothing. What baseless criticism and how childish.
11:17AM MAY 16TH 2014
So it seems Rick Scott once again lied on his promise to create jobs. According to what he said Florida will have created about 1.7 million jobs by 2018. We are on track for less than 700,000. That would be about 1 million jobs short. If your a Floridian looking for a decent paying job today you know how bad it is here.

"When Scott debuted his 7-7-7 economic plan in July 2010, nonpartisan economists at the Legislature's Office of Economic and Demographic Research had just released their estimates for Florida's long-term jobs outlook.

They concluded Florida would add 1.05 million jobs between July 1, 2010, and June 30, 2018, and it didn't matter who lived in the Governor's Mansion — Scott, Democrat Alex Sink or someone else.

To account for the news, Scott clarified his promise. His 700,000 jobs would come in addition to the ones state economists forecasted.

Put simpler: 7-7-7 became 7-7-1.7 million.

That promise is a lot harder to keep. It requires the state to produce more than 20,000 jobs on average per month, every month, for seven years.
To date, Florida is averaging 12,000 jobs a month.

"Florida is going to come nowhere near exceeding normal job growth by 700,000 in seven years, no matter how you define it or time it," said David Denslow, a retired University of Florida economist."
7:53AM MAY 16TH 2014
Crist was already our governor and had his chance to make his mark. Time for others to do this. Anyone voting for Crist has to be stupid. Just look at his doings....the man is a bonafide socialist.

I'm not happy with Scott either but he's far far better than Crist.
7:02AM MAY 16TH 2014
Lopez-Cantera seems to be settling into his new position of Lt. Gov by doing nothing but talking! ALL talk. But then, he holds a position which is not, hasn't been needed at all. Scott appointed him solely because of his name and absolutely NOT on his own credentials! Yep, he too is all, and nothing but talk. I can't help but wonder where Lopez-Cantera had been during those years when Washington's failed policies failed Florida as well. While I'm sure Crist's policies may have contributed a little, I've never heard of Lopez-Cantera before Scott recruited him based upon his race and politics in order to help Scott in South Florida. I do not believe we have two strong candidates but I certainly didn't have as much financial pain under Crist as I have while under Scott. Based on all that, I'm out and voting Crist.
Fran k
7:56AM MAY 16TH 2014
The financial pain you refer was caused by one Thad Altman. He almost single handly raised the fees for everyone in Florida. He trippled the cost of car tags, fishing licenses, etc. Scott did not do this.

voting for a "tax and spend" democrat is not smart, it's PATHETIC!
9:25AM MAY 16TH 2014
So bright, you can't even develop your own style . . . your hypocrisy reminds me of Carl Rove's current attacks on Hillary for her age . . . she'll be younger than Ronald Reagan while she's President . . . . rightwing demonizing spin . . . . absolutely . . .

Pathetic . . . .

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