Romney praises Ryan, Rick Scott makes first appearance on the trail

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Mitt Romney on Monday defended his new running mate’s proposals to reform entitlement programs, reports Nora McAlvanah, telling a crowd of Florida voters that he and Paul Ryan both want to “preserve and protect Medicare.”

“We love America, we know where it needs to go and we’re going to get it done,” Romney said in a speech at Flagler College.

Speaking to a crowd of about 2,000 supporters, Romney looked to turn the Medicare debate around by hitting President Obama on the issue. “The president’s idea for Medicare was to cut it by $700 billion,” he said. “That’s not the right answer. We need to make sure we can preserve and protect Medicare.”

Romney’s 18-minute speech focused on his five-point plan for improving the economy, in addition to some Florida-specific issues like the space program and the housing crisis.

“We just landed on Mars and took a good look at what’s going on there,” Romney said. “And, I know the Chinese are planning on going to the moon, and I hope they have a good experience doing that, and I hope they stop in and take a look at our flag that was put there 43 years ago.”

For the first time in the campaign, Gov. Rick Scott appeared with Romney. The governor –whose low approval ratings have caused some Republicans to worry that he could drag down the ticket –introduced Romney to a packed crowd gathered in the courtyard of Flagler College.

Scott, who touted his own record of job creation, said Florida would fare even better with a Republican in the White House.

“Just think if we had a president and vice president that knew that you build businesses and government doesn’t build businesses,” Scott said. “Think what this state could do again if we had the right president.”

Republican Party of Florida Chair Lenny Curry, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Sen. Marco Rubio also spoke to the crowd.

Romney will travel to Miami later Monday, where he is expected to hold an afternoon campaign event at El Palacio De Los, an open area eatery known for its fresh foods and Latin foods.

The GOP presidential nominee had originally been scheduled to attend a housing round table in Orlando in between his events in St. Augustine and Miami, but canceled the event on Sunday. He will now fly from St. Augustine to Miami, not take a bus as had been the plan.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, 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.