Florida Gov. Rick Scott's ever present, camera-ready grin masks the strain of an embattled politician. His approval ratings rank at the bottom among the nation's governors, and Democrats are poised to use him as the bogeyman of the 2012 election in a key battleground state. He can't match the always-sunny-in-Florida cheer of his predecessor, Charlie Crist, but Scott rivals any Wall Street CEO's unyielding optimism amid dismal earnings.
"Hey, how's it going? You doing all right?" he says as he smiles and grips a woman's hand.
Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott. (AP Photo/The Miami Herald, Walter Michot)
Three months ago, as his campaign bus traveled along Florida's Gulf Coast, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott took questions for an hour, veering further to the right with each answer.
For the reporters on the bus, it became a bingo of conservative talking points: Arizona-style immigration laws. Federal health-care repeal. Pro-life laws. More offshore oil drilling. And the winning question: "Do you believe in global warming?"
"No," Scott said. Asked to expand, he said, "I have not been convinced."