Mitt Romney's presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state's economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee's message that the nation is suffering under President Barack Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.
Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state's jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.
What's unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama's stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.
Time to start the clock on pool reporters asking Romney to admit that the employment situation is improving under President Obama's leadership, and that his programs have staved off an honest-to-God global economic depression. I doubt the question is coming, and I doubt Romney would answer it clearly if it did. Because that's what he does. He dissembles.
I've said it many times to many people: this election bears a striking resemblance to 2004: a personally popular incumbent with weak points, a northeastern challenger who has a tendency to trip himself up, but is otherwise a vanilla, "meh" option for his party's base, and a situation in which the challenger is forced either to lie about the state of affairs or try to make the case that "things are okay, but they could be better if I were in charge."
Oh, and the challenger is a self-interested vulture capitalist named Mitt Romney. That part is different from 2004, but I think the effect will be about the same.