Rick Scott walks into the Floridian diner on Las Olas about noon today for a photo-op lunch with South Florida lawmakers. There's an odd funk in the air, sort of a mix between French fries and kitty litter.
He walks halfway through the main dining room, its walls plastered with framed photos, mostly Marilyn Monroe and other various pinups. He stops in front of a reporter and asks if she'd like a photo with him. Behind him is a framed collage of asses. No, the reporter says,
and Scott moves on to a room painted a mossy green.
the dining tables form an outward-facing U-shape. A handful of state
lawmakers -- nowhere near the full-blown legislative delegation the
news release advertised -- eventually find a seat at the table.
"My goal is basically to hear from y'all," Gov. Rick Scott tells them.
small talk doesn't go on for long before Democratic state Sen. Eleanor
Sobel asks the governor what he could have possibly been thinking when ending water-quality testing
at beaches across the state.
A waitress takes their orders. Scott asks for just ice water. The checks are separate.
State Rep. Joe Gibbons says the GOP spent way too much time
on ideological lawmaking and zero on jobs. Republican Rep. Bill
Hagersaid lowering the corporate income tax has everything to do with
jobs. "Call up Texas," he says. "Call up Texas." A brief spar ensues,
during which Scott briefly steps into the fray to interject that nearly
86,000 jobs have been created in Florida since he took office.
education comes up, Sobel tells Scott schools can't measure student
progress solely through standardized tests, to which he awkwardly
replies, "I want everybody to get jobs."
This spurs another brief spar between Gibbons and Hager.
press secretary Amy Graham leads reporters outside onto the sidewalk,
where the governor actually talks to the media. He answers a few
questions on his jobs claims. And he explains why he skipped lunch:
"Well, you know, if you're talking, you don't have time. And I hate it
because, you know, you're in the middle of a meal and you're talking,"
Asked whether today's lunch is just an effort to revamp
his Mr. Burnsesque image, he says, "You know, I started doing this
right when I got elected."
Shortly thereafter, he hops back into a black SUV.
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