Florida's elected leaders and politicians sound-off on last night's presidential debate

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Here’s how Florida’s elected leaders and politicians graded a tenacious Mitt Romney and a listless Barack Obama in the first presidential debate:

Senator Marco Rubio:

“After watching tonight’s debate, the choice this November could not be clearer. A vote for Barack Obama is a vote for four more years of economic stagnation and weak foreign policy; as well as higher taxes, debt, and healthcare costs. A vote for Mitt Romney is a vote for real reforms that will bring a real recovery, including 12 million new jobs, tax relief for the middle class, better healthcare at lower costs, a balanced budget, and leadership for an American century. That’s the kind of bold agenda Americans expect and deserve – and that’s exactly what Mitt Romney outlined tonight.”

Governor Rick Scott:

“Tonight, Floridians saw the clear choice we have in this election. We can choose the current path we are on under President Obama, of more government spending and job-killing policies from Washington, or Governor Romney’s path of less taxes and regulation to support job creation.

“Only Governor Romney’s path will help us leave future generations of Floridians with more opportunities to pursue their dreams.”

Former Governor Jeb Bush:

“Mitt Romney is substantive and dominating tonight.”

Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater:

“Mitt Romney was on fire! There is no doubt who won this #debate tonight. I can’t wait to cast my vote and elect a leader.”

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack:

“Governor Romney demonstrated to the nation the remarkable difference between a president that fights for freedom and prosperity and one that believes government is the solution to all that ails us. Governor Romney laid out a specific vision and President Obama spoke in a malaise and blamed the past.

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz:

“Mitt Romney might “love great schools,” but his budget could cut $115 billion-plus from the Department of Education over a decade.”

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry:

“Many Americans have to be scratching their heads tonight wondering why President Obama hasn’t already done some of the things he talked about tonight, like create jobs.

“The last thing Americans wanted to hear were the “aw shucks” excuses offered for why he’s failed to do the job for which he was elected.”

“Governor Romney was strong and confident in tonight’s debate. He gave us hope that it is indeed morning in America once again. Tonight we saw the beginning of the end of the last failed four years and the dawn of the renewal of America’s promise and purpose.

“Mitt Romney won tonight’s debate. In 34 days the nation will win when he is elected our next president.”

State Rep. Dwight Bullard:

“Taking bets on how long it takes Governor Romney to shift his position on 75 percent of what he just said.”

State Rep. Matt Gaetz:

“I remember being in the Rick Perry spin room after a rough debate … must be like how Team Obama feels about now …”

State Rep. Jamie Grant:

“At least when W. stumbled over words, he came off a likeable cowboy and not an arrogant and condescending law professor. This is embarrassing …”

State Rep. Jimmy Patronis:

“Round One. Judges ruling: Mitt Romney 10, Barack Obama 7 #romneyryan2012 #sayfie

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.