Gov. Rick Scott — away in Democratic New York on another out-of-state trip to entice businesses to relocate jobs to Florida — is not known for being particularly chatty with his home-state press corps, but he did make time to speak with FOX New’s Neil Cavuto on Wednesday afternoon.
Scott, as usual, hewed closely to his well-worn talking points about the paramount importance of job creation and generally stayed upbeat, avoiding taking sides in either the Democratic or Republican 2016 White House primaries his host inquired about.
Cavuto asked Scott what he made of a recent state poll that showed Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson besting big-name Florida pols former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio in their own backyard.
“It’s a lot like when I ran in 2010,” said Scott, who catapulted to a primary victory over former congressman and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum much to the surprise — and chagrin — of many Tallahassee Republican insiders.
“People want an outsider. Donald Trump is clearly an outsider,” said Scott. “I’m not endorsing in the race, but it’s no different than in 2010.”
“I came into the race, people said ‘Oh, he’s a business guy, business guys don’t win’ — but people wanted an outsider,” recalled Scott.
Just a day ago, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito slammed Scott ahead of his visit, accusing the governor of “backward shenanigans.”
“The traveling circus of Republican governors is back in town,” Mark-Viverito told POLITICO New York on Tuesday evening. “Whether it was overseeing what was then the largest Medicare fraud in U.S. history, his denials of climate change or his attacks on women’s health, Rick Scott has shown he is out of step with New Yorkers who reject his backward shenanigans.”
Cavuto briefly teased Scott about his relatively low approval numbers, before pushing on with the question, “What are Floridians saying? Why is it that they’re flirting more with an outsider than the guys who are headline-grabbers?”
“I think people want a new face, they want someone that’s going to focus on jobs,” said Scott, pivoting towards his familiar gospel of job growth above all.
Cavuto drew comparisons between Scott and Trump, fellow business magnates turned Republican politicians. He asked the governor about the transition between the world of business to that of politics.
“The big difference — and Donald Trump seems to be very good at it — is dealing with the media. So, there’s way more media [in politics] than in business, but if you have a goal, if you stay on your message…” said Scott, before being interrupted by Cavuto about the media “hating” him.
Cavuto said that like Scott, Trump was often “mocked” by members of the media and asked whether Scott felt Trump was up to the task of mollifying the press.
“The biggest thing is, just stay on your message,” was Scott’s advice.