Rick Scott continues effort to soften image in RGA “American Comeback” video spot

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A new digital ad, released Tuesday morning by the Republican Governors Association, features Florida Gov. Rick Scott continuing the effort to softening his image with voters a bit by means of talking about his childhood experiences and climb out of poverty.

The digital short is part of a series of “American Comeback” videos, which illustrate how Republican governors are “driving America’s comeback.” Other videos include intimate talks with Govs. Nathan Deal from Georgia, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Scott Walker of Wisconsin and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.

In his two-and-a-half minute video, the Scott explains how a difficult childhood shaped his later beliefs on a number of political issues, especially job creation. Scott used a similar strategy in television re-election ads running throughout the state.

“I don’t know my natural father,” Scott tells the camera. “My mom got remarried a year or so after I was born. My adoptive father had a sixth-grade education. They struggled for money. I grew up in public housing.”

“But I lived in America,” he adds, “and I had every opportunity there was.”

Scott prefaces the story of his rise out of poverty by saying, “In America, anything is possible.” Through hard work, success started began in the first and second grade, with the future governor delivering TV Guides door-to-door for 4 cents a copy.

“Something you’d never let your kids do today,” he says.

 As for balancing Florida’s budget, the governor reminds viewers that it “is a lot of work.”

“You don’t make a lot of friends balancing the budget,” the governor says. “Almost three years as governor and nobody comes to my office and says, ‘Gosh, I think you should spend less money in an area.’”

“But you’ve got to live within your means.”

Scott also sees the political climate in Washington D.C. as “insanity.” He points to the barrage of new regulation, taxes, lawsuits and attacks “thrown at Florida” by the federal government, all affecting the state’s ability to create more jobs.

“Our citizens want jobs,” he says. “They want to live their dream. The dream is not having government dictate what you get to do. The dream is not having the government tell you what job you’re going to have.”

Scott has become one of the principal targets of national Democrats in the November midterms. Once a Republican, former Gov. Charlie Crist is favored to be the Democratic challenger.

The “American Comeback” series is available at RGA.org and YouTube.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.