Nation & World

Fla. Gov. Scott: Jobs are main issue for 2012 presidential race

More than a year before the next presidential election, Florida Gov. Rick Scott is making a prediction.

"Whoever has the plan for jobs is going to win," he said. "President Obama, just because of what’s happened with jobs, he’s going to have a tougher time. But if the Republican candidate doesn’t have a plan for jobs, he’s not going to win."

Scott, the Republican governor of the country’s largest swing state, said that he has been courted by several GOP primary candidates. He talks often with Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is expected to announce his intention to run this weekend. And he’s met former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who was in Miami Wednesday, calling him “an interesting” candidate.

For now, however, Scott isn’t endorsing any candidate.

“I remember what it’s like when everybody endorses the other person” in a primary, Scott told the Miami Herald’s editorial board in a wide-ranging interview Wednesday, referring to the support of the Republican establishment — and of newspapers — of his opponent last year, former Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.

It was Scott’s second editorial board appearance in as many days as part of the governor’s effort to improve his public image after negative approval ratings. Throughout the 2010 campaign against Democrat Alex Sink, Scott turned down almost every editorial boards’ invitation. He met with the board of the Tallahassee Democrat on Tuesday.

A relaxed Scott, wearing a long-sleeved royal blue shirt and no tie, spoke to about 20 Herald editors and reporters for an hour Wednesday afternoon. Then he worked his way through the newsroom, shaking hands, introducing himself as “Rick” and asking breaking-news producers about social media. Scott showed them the governor’s Facebook page.

Earlier in the day, Scott met with six state lawmakers who represent Broward — four Democrats and two Republicans — at The Floridian, a Fort Lauderdale greasy spoon better known for serving eggs and pancakes around the clock than for public policy discussions. It was a stark difference from several months ago, when Scott sat with lawmakers at a posh hotel near the ocean.

Though the largely Democratic delegation had little success in the past legislative session, lawmakers for the most part went easy on the governor, bringing up their desire to adequately fund schools, protect beaches and improve job growth. Sen. Eleanor Sobel, a Hollywood Democrat, encouraged Scott to listen to different points of view, telling him there is a “sizable group of people that don’t agree with what you have done.”

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