Gov. Rick Scott (R) denied Thursday that Mitt Romney's campaign asked him to tone down efforts to tout improvements in the Florida economy out of concern it could weaken the case against President Obama.
Scott spokesman Lane Wright said a Bloomberg report citing anonymous Romney campaign officials was false.
“That’s inaccurate,” Wright told The Hill. “We’re happy to have the Democrats and Obama people pushing stories that acknowledge [Gov. Scott’s] good work on the economy in Florida, but nobody from the Romney campaign has reached out to Gov. Scott or his staff.”
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) picked up on the story, and held a conference call with reporters on Thursday to highlight the “shocking revelations.”
“Last night it was revealed that Mitt Romney urged Florida Governor Rick Scott to downplay good economic news, further proof that Romney would rather see the American economic fail than President Obama win,” the DNC said in a statement. “Republicans in Congress have done the same thing by blocking the President's jobs plan and the million jobs that would be created in order to slow the economic recovery for partisan gain.”
Wright wouldn’t speculate as to who might have alleged that the Romney campaign asked the Scott administration not to tout the state’s improving economic climate, and said he would continue to push the message of Florida’s declining unemployment under Scott.
“I think people are trying to pit Gov. Romney and Gov. Scott against each other, saying they have conflicting messages,” Wright continued. “I don’t think they do. The economy in Florida is improving despite the policies coming out of Washington. We’re hoping to continue that but we need a partner in Washington that sees we can grow jobs if we do the right thing, and we think Romney should be that partner.”
Still, the Bloomberg report underlines one of the more significant challenges of the Romney campaign: casting President Obama as a failed leader on the economy when job growth in many of the swing states that will be crucial to winning the White House outpaces nationwide averages. That messaging becomes particularly difficult in battleground states like Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Pennsylvania, where Republican governors are eager to take credit for improving economies.
Just hours after the Bloomberg report, the Republican Party of Florida sent out a memo called “Florida’s economy continues to continues to improve under Governor Rick Scott.”
“Since Governor Scott took office, a total of 99,600 private sector jobs have been added in Florida,” the memo read in part. “Lower taxes, reduced regulation and a balanced budget are giving the private sector the confidence it needs to expand, grow and add jobs.”