Rick Scott stopped in Clearwater this morning with an all-star GOP class in tow. Hopping off of two buses were Attorney General Pam Bondi and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.
The trio met a flurry of supporters inside Louis Pappa’s on McMullen Booth Road in Clearwater including a contingency of local state lawmakers and candidates. They were also met by a pack of feisty liberal protestors and Charlie Crist supporters 75-strong and armed with a giant Rick Scott puppet whose resemblance to Scott is freakishly uncanny.
Senator Jack Latvala introduced Scott has the hordes of protestors could be heard outside chanting various token phrases and poking fun at the governor’s own slogan, “let’s get to work.”
Latvala addressed one issue protestors were lamenting to reporters outside – that Scott was standing idly by while Duke Energy rips customers off to the tune of $3.2 billion. Latvala called that a bum rap.
“The nuclear cost recovery fee was passed in 2006, that’s the year before Charlie Crist became governor,” Latvala said. “For the next four years, Charlie Crist had an opportunity to do something about the nuclear cost recovery fee. Does anyone remember ever proposing a bill to repeal the nuclear cost recovery fee during that four years? Nobody did. He had four years to do that.”
Latvala is referring to the growing battlecry among Democrats that Republicans have stood behind Duke Energy while they continued to collect advanced nuclear fees for two projects that were cancelled. What Latvala is leaving out is that the projects Duke is charging for weren’t cancelled until after Crist’s term as governor ended. At that time, the utility was still charging ratepayers for projects that would, presumably, create energy one day. That hasn’t happened and now many lawmakers are looking to change the law.
While Duke Energy’s questionable fees have become one of the central focuses against Scott by Crist supporters, Scott’s people are latching on to job creation. Scott argues Crist lost more than 800,000 jobs during his four years as governor.
“Chalie said there was nothing he could do. If you just watch the last four years, look at what we’ve all done,” Scott said of Crist’s claim that he shouldn’t be blamed for the consequences of a global recession. Nevertheless, Scott sticks to it. He not only points to job losses, he points to rising college tuition costs and increased taxes and regulation.
“When he took office, if you were to buy a pre-paid for a newborn it was $100 a month. When he left it was $260 a month,” Scott said.
Scott said, in his final campaign push before tomorrow’s election, that he plans to do a couple of things during a second term – beat Texas in job creation and get the state to the highest per-pupil spending rate for public education.
Part of his last minute campaign stop was rubbing shoulders with potential 2016 presidential contender Bobby Jindal. Jindal will be hanging with Scott on a number of stops along the I-4 corridor today before teaming up with fellow GOP darling, Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Jindal opened with a story about the first time he met Charlie Crist. It was Jindal’s first term as governor and he got a message that Crist wanted to come meet. Jindal explained Crist showed up with two other people. One was a New York Times reporter.
“I don’t know about you, I haven’t met very many Republican governors who travel with their own New York Times reporter,” Jindal joked. “Apparently Charlie was auditioning, I think he wanted to be vice president, he wanted some job.”
That of course plays on conservative criticism of Crist that he is a flip-flopping opportunist. But it didn’t stop there. Jindal drew attention to something Scott should probably be distancing himself from in a not un-predictable and also not that funny reference to none other than Charlie Crist’s fan.
“I don’t know what this guy’s job title was, but when he walked in the room he was looking around and I eventually realized he was looking for an outlet,” Jindal said. “I’ll be honest with you, that entire meeting I was so obsessed with that fan, I didn’t really pay attention to a lot.”
Jindal then went on to explain that it was a good thing he didn’t listen to Crist because he may have told him how to lose 800,000 jobs.
The crowd inside thought it was funny. Outside, protestors continued chanting anti-Scott rhymes.
In case you missed it, supporters were treated to this joke for about the one-millionth time. It goes something like this:
A Republican, an Independent and a Democrat walk into a bar. The bartender says, “Oh, hi Charlie.”
Following short rallies from Bondi and a handful of local candidates, elected officials and a business owner, Scott and his cohort shuffled back to their buses without a word to reporters.
According to spokespeople with the Fight for Fifteen Minimum Wage group, Bleu Rainer and Shetara Brown, five low-wage workers tried to talk to Scott as he was leaving both the Clearwater rally and another in Plant City, but were ignored by Scott. The two said those same individuals were asked to leave the Plant City rally. Shetara Brown is the woman in a video released last month showing Scott shouting at her about Charlie Crist not caring about people losing their jobs after she asked why he wouldn’t support raising the minimum wage.