Gov. Rick Scott defended Steve MacNamara, his embattled chief of staff, who has been the target of a recent rash of media stories that have gone so far as to call him the governors biggest failure.
Scott appeared to lightheartedly approach the topic with reporters outside the Capitol after the Florida State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police hosted the 2012 Florida State Law Enforcement Memorial on Monday.
Scott told the reporters they are being mean to poor Steve MacNamara.
Hes out there working his tail off and you guys write these mean things about him, Scott said of his $189,000-a-year chief of staff.
Were getting a lot of good things done. Jobs are coming back, we got $1 billion in education and we got PIP done. Now youre being mean to my chief of staff.
Over the weekend, reports by the Associated Press and Miami Herald focused on questionable insider moves involving MacNamara and on Sunday a column in the Herald wasted no time in pointing out that the chief of staff has failed to keep Scott from public miscues such as one last week involving the signing of the Cuba contract-ban law.
And Nancy Smith of Sunshine State News wrote in her column Monday that MacNamara, now damaged goods, should quit before he becomes Scott's Jim Greer.
Asked about reports that MacNamara has played agency heads against each other and walled off the governor from outsiders, Scott said MacNamaras job is to talk with the heads of other state agencies.
I talk to agency heads, I spend as much time as I can, but Steve is the chief of staff and its his job to work with agency heads and hes done a great job, Scott concluded.
Critiquing MacNamara started immediately as the political insider was brought on board last June to both soften Scotts image and to build his rapport throughout the capital.
In October, MacNamara came under fire after he suggested Scott invite hyper-partisan U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, chair of the Democratic National Committee, on a trade mission to Israel.
MacNamaras idea, he said, was to broaden the conservative governors appeal.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.