As you may or may not have heard, Governor Rick Scott spent much of Tuesday hanging with Republican presidential aspirants at a "summit" his people organized to talk about "economic development."
GOP presidential hopefuls included former governors Jeb Bush (FL), Mike Huckabee (AR) and Rick Perry (TX) and current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. U.S. from Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who was in Washington, D.C., was the only high-profile no-show (though he did address the crowd via a video).
The event took place, somewhat fittingly, at the Disney's Yacht Club Resort (Smithers, why is there an effeminate rodent on all of the signage?).
At one point, Governor Scott afforded Politico reporter Marc Caputo minute after minute of unscripted comments, something pretty rare, given he doesn't like the press and usually lets them ask questions for about two minutes, if that, before walking away to be with his money. We dropped in on a video stream of Scott's chat with Caputo, and here are some of the highlights (with our annotations, of course).
We hope you like salad. Word salad, that is.
ON REJECTING HIGH-SPEED RAIL IN 2011
“I think the country's tired of big government. I said I will not stand in the way of the federal government. Okay? That's what I said. I didn't say I want to tax my citizens, and I told the head of the federal Department of Transportation, I told everybody at the White House, if you want to do a high-speed rail project, and you want to pay for, have at it. I'd love you to spend more—if you want to spend more money, I don't think it's a good use of your money. I'm not running the federal government. But don't come and tell me I should tax my citizens for a project that you like. That's not fair.”*
*Actually, the Tampa-to-Orlando high speed rail line that would have been well on its way to completion by now would likely have cost Florida taxpayers nothing. Yes, the $2.5 billion that the feds were offering would have constituted 90 percent of the project's costs; another entity (i.e. the state) would have had to kick in the rest, some $280,000. Obviously, that would have been problematic for fiscal conservatives. However, just before Scott told President Obama to take his high speed rail check and shove it, it was revealed that private entities would have been falling all over themselves to pick up the rest of the tab.
ON REFUSING TO ACCEPT FEDERAL MEDICAID EXPANSION MONEY JUST MINUTES AFTER UTTERING THE WORDS "WE NEED FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET PEOPLE HEALTH CARE" IN RESPONSE TO A DIFFERENT QUESTION.
“It's $5 billion. Name a health care program where there's—okay I think there's one health care program that I know of that the government did that didn't coast way more than they thought. So this one, they think it's only going to cost our state $5 billion. What do you think the odds are that—look at what's happened to Obamacare. Health care costs have gone up...It's bad for citizens, it's bad for businesses, it's bad for state budgets. It hasn't been good for anybody. You want to give people health care? Figure out how you drive down the delivery costs of health care. That's how you get people health care.”*
*So, this one is kind of a mixed bag. Sure, health insurance companies that participate in Florida's state exchange are requesting significant rate hikes to cover rising health care costs. Quick question, though. How come Florida and Texas—both of which have refused billions in federal Medicaid dollars to cover the poor—have the highest health care costs in the nation? It's not a stretch to say insurance companies would probably rather make their policy holders pay more than see a dent in their profits. Nor is it a stretch to assume that insuring more people will, in the long run, cost the state less—as we've pointed out before, seeing the doctor for a checkup, and subsequent treatment as needed, is much cheaper than going to the emergency room with full-blown cancer.
ON WHY HE'LL SUPPORT WHICHEVER REPUBLICAN WINS THE PRIMARY.
“Mrs. Clinton believes the same things as Barack Obama.* She believes in big government. She's not a pro-business person. She's not somebody that—you can't look at her background and say, oh, gosh, yeah, she's in there for reducing taxes? No. Reducing regulations? No. Streamlining the permitting process? No. She's for big government. And it doesn't work.”*
ON WHY, IN ADDITION TO SPENDING MILLIONS OF HIS OWN MONEY ON ATTACK ADS AT STRATEGIC POINTS, HE WON.
“I won, people had no idea who I was. They had no idea how I would vote, they had no idea how I'd govern. But I had a plan to turn the economy around. That was the biggest issue in 2010 and it was stil the biggest issue in 2014. That's why.”*
ON WHY HE LOVES JESUS SO MUCH!
“I was blessed. My mom and my grandmother were both devout Christians, and so, they introduced me to Jesus Christ as a young man. I believed in Jesus Christ pretty much my whole, I mean, my whole life. I've been blessed. I have to be the most blessed person in America to have, to have a mom like mine, to have married my wife at 19, to have daughters, I'm about to have my fourth grandchild. So, I think about, I pray, thank God that I'm here...Hopefully he'l give me the wisdom...to be a good governor.* But I believe God put me here for a purpose. I'd like him to send me a fax,** tell me what it was, then I'd follow it, but I do believe in it.”
*Pray harder. **A what now?
ON WHY HE HATES THE MEDIA SO MUCH!
“I think the print media as a group likes big government.* I'll give you an example. I went and talked FOR four hours at a (school in a) very poor community in our state. I asked the students, I said have any of you read, or do you guys, any of your families, take the paper? Not one of them.** I said, hve any of you guys ever read a printed paper? Never. I don't think one of them had. I said, 'do newspapers like big government or small government?' 'Oh, they like big government.' It's clear. 'Do they like Republicans or Democrats?' 'Oh, they like Democrats.' They have never taken a paper at their house. It's clear. Whether reality or not, the perception is, especially the print media, is so pro big government, more taxes, more, anything government does is positive.”***
*Huh? **Not sure how this is relevant. Keep those words coming, though; something coherent will inevitably fall out. ***Okay, now, how in the living fuck does this bizarre anecdote serve as an example of how pro-big government the print media are? Those kids would probably tell you that pizza dipped in Ranch dressing is good for you, but that doesn't make it true.