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January 23, 2012 10:40 AM The kind of candidate Floridians already know

By Steve Benen

Even a casual glance at Mitt Romney’s campaign pitch reveals a pretty straightforward message: he’s a conservative businessman, not a traditional politician, who’ll focus on jobs.

As the race for the Republican presidential nomination heats up, and attention turns to next week’s Florida primary, AFSCME has a good idea on how to use this pitch against him: note the similarities to the same pitch Floridians heard in 2010.

The union is airing this 30-second television ad in the Sunshine State throughout the week:

As Greg Sargent explained, “The basis for the ad is a 2002 Boston Globe article reporting that Romney and Bain made huge profits from the 1993 sale of a medical testing company that earned its revenues partly from a criminal scheme to defraud the Medicare system. Romney served on the board of Damon from 1990-1993 but was never implicated in any way, the Globe reported, adding that the eventual sale of Damon made Romney $473,000 and netted $7.4 million for Bain investors.”

The underlying controversy, of course, offers a chance to connect Romney to Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), whose low approval ratings make the comparison anything but flattering.

Indeed, given Florida’s electoral significance, and Scott’s ability to repulse, I suspect this isn’t the last time we’ll see Romney’s critics equate him with the scandal-plagued governor. It’s a natural question for Florida voters to consider: remember the last time a conservative businessman with a shady private-sector background made a bunch of promises? Were Floridians satisfied with the results?

I would imagine that President Obama and his allies would spend much of the fall making a similar argument in the Sunshine State: if you don’t like Rick Scott, don’t elect someone like him to the White House.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • c u n d gulag on January 23, 2012 10:47 AM:

    Mitt is Gov. Scott with a great head of hair.

    Behind every great fortune is a great crime.

  • Danp on January 23, 2012 10:54 AM:

    Romney served on the board of Damon from 1990-1993 but was never implicated in any way

    Dick Cheney was never inmpicated in any way when Halliburton defrauded Fort Ord, either. He was the CEO at the time. Funny how that works.

  • DAY on January 23, 2012 10:57 AM:

    Florida is a "winner take all" state. And, last time around, their votes didn't count at the convention (cf Hillary's hissy fit, in 2008)

    Newt knows this; and will act accordingly.

  • Lloyd on January 23, 2012 11:49 AM:

    Romney says he will create jobs, with his experience in business. What jobs did he create when he was a governor?

  • JS on January 23, 2012 12:16 PM:

    Gov. Scott in Florida, Gov. Kasich in Ohio, Gov. Walker in Wisconsin, Gov. Snyder in Michigan. Over-reachers all.

    73 Electoral Votes combined.

    I've been calling these guys Obama's "Four Aces in the Hole" for at least a year now.

  • MNRD on January 23, 2012 1:23 PM:

    I've been saying all along that Romney's propensity to tell outrageous and easily disproven lies would catch up to him at some point (which I admittedly thought would be the general election). Well, it appears that that point is now. The man comes into the contest with a major trust issue with his Party's base, and he thinks he can get away with this level of deception and implausibility? No wonder that South Carolina conservatives concluded that they absolutely cannot trust Mitt Romney. And what does the Romney campaign do in response to their South Carolina smackdown? Why, they double down on their deceptiveness and implausibility!

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