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Everyone should be a Republican, Gov. Rick Scott told a group of GOP faithful in the Democratic stronghold of Broward County on May 20.
Scott’s speech focused on familiar subjects of job creation under his reign, the disappointment of losing the 2012 election, and the importance of his 2014 re-election efforts for the state and country, according to reports.
One excerpt did not go over well with Florida Democrats.
"If you need anything from the government, any government, you should absolutely be a Republican because it won’t be there if it wasn’t for people that had jobs and build businesses. So you absolutely ought to be a Republican," Scott said.
The comment reminded Democrats of another multimillionaire former chief executive, 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who was secretly filmed at a Boca Raton dinner talking about the "47 percent." Romney said the 47 percent of the country that do not pay income taxes will vote for President Barack Obama because they depend on government assistance.
Seizing on Scott’s dinner remarks, the Florida Democratic Party tweeted: "ICYMI: @FLGovScott echoes Romney’s outrageous 47% comments, says R’s are the only ones w/jobs."
So are Scott’s comments similar to Romney’s?
A Republican strategist thought we should fact-check the Democrats’ statement, believing they erred in saying Scott said only Republicans have jobs. Others however, thought the Democrats had a fair take.
We found Scott’s wording unclear.
So rather than put this claim on the Truth-O-Meter, we decided to show you Scott’s comments in context, so you can draw your own conclusion. (A special thanks to George Bennett of the Palm Beach Post for providing us with the audio.)
First, for a refresher, here are Romney’s comments from the dinner about the "47 percent."
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax."
Now here’s what Scott had to say this week.
"We didn’t win the presidential race last November. That was a big loss for us, big loss for our families, big loss for the country.
"Here’s the way I think about it. I have not met one Floridian that should be anything but a Republican.
"Stop and think about it for a second. Let’s say you want to build a business. Should you be a Republican? That’s an easy answer, absolutely!
"How many people have you met that don’t want a job? People want jobs. They better work for a business. So if they work for a business, they better be Republicans because Republicans build businesses to create jobs.
"Next, let’s say you came here from another country. Why did you come here? You believed in the dream of America, the dream that you can come from any walk of life, that you can do anything you want in this country. You clearly need to be a Republican.
"Let’s say that you need a safety net. Let’s say you need unemployment insurance or you need something to take care of you while times are hard before you get back on your feet, whether that’s health care, whether that’s unemployment insurance, whatever it is. Who pays for it? People that have jobs.
"So if you need anything from the government, any government, you should absolutely be a Republican because it won’t be there if it wasn’t for people that had jobs and build businesses. So you absolutely ought to be a Republican."
Audio from George Bennett, Palm Beach Post reporter, received May 21, 2013
Palm Beach Post’s Post on Politics blog, "Scott to Broward GOP: ‘We should not lose...we have the right story,’" May 20, 2013
South Florida Sun Sentinel, "In Broward, Scott tries to rally part faithful," May 21, 2013
PolitiFact, "Fact-checking Romney’s private fundraiser remarks," Sept. 18, 2012