Running on the motto “Let’s get to work,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) heralded himself as the jobs candidate during his gubernatorial campaign. Both in a debate and on his campaign bus, Scott declared that his seven-step plan would create 700,000 jobs, in addition to jobs that Florida added from normal growth. When a reporter asked whether the 700,000 jobs would be on top of the projected growth over the next five years, Scott agreed, “It’s on top of that. If you do these things we’re going to grow 700,000 more jobs.” During a debate in 2010, Scott also declared that his “plan is seven steps to 700,000 jobs, and that plan is on top of what normal growth would be.”
Scott, however, has spent his first nine months in office sprinting away from that promise. This summer, when a reporter reminded Scott of his pledge to create 700,000 jobs on top of economic growth, Scott played astonishingly dumb. “No, that’s not true,” he said. When pushed, he added, “I don’t know who said that, so I have no idea.” Last week, the Sun Sentinal editorial board asked Scott point blank, “Your pledge was for 700,000 in addition to normal growth, wasn’t it?” “No,” he replied. “700,000.”
The St. Petersburg Times and the Miami Herald tracked his sprint backwards. Watch it:
Politifact rated Scott’s walk-back a “full flop” on it’s “Flip-O-Meter.”
Of course, it’s not entirely surprising that Scott is desperately attempting to “change his arithmetic on how many jobs the state must create to meet his No. 1 campaign pledge.” In his first nine months in office, Scott killed a high-speed rail project that would have generated more than 71,000 jobs. He bragged about laying off 15,000 government workers. And he has signaled that he’ll reject billions in funding from President Obama’s new jobs plan that would create more than 60,000 jobs.
Florida is currently facing a 10.7 unemployment rate. Scott’s spokesman still insists that (somehow) Scott’s position hasn’t changed, but Nova Southeastern University professor Robert Jarvis offered a more frank take on Scott’s walk-back: “He’s a politician. You make changes on the fly.”