Sunshine State political reporters have complained for weeks that Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott has been ignoring their editorial boards and skipping forums with rival republican and Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum.
Before interviewing McCollum in Pompano Beach today, one of his aides asked if I planned to attend this evenings GOP candidate forum in Boca Raton. He claimed organizers had confirmed Scott's attendance.
We called organizers of the forum and they said indeed Scott was on the schedule and we called Scott's scheduler who said it was on the candidate's calendar.
Scott and his aides are sensitive to charges that he hides from the media. They insist Scott routinely gives radio, newspaper and TV interviews (I did one with him Tuesday) and say his absences at a few forums were simple campaign conflicts.
Scott's a jobs candidate running on his record as a businessman but that record includes being CEO of the world's largest hospital chain which, on his watch, was charged with the biggest Medicare fraud ever. That issue has so dominated the news coverage that it's been able to cut through the bazillion of dollars in ads that Scott has filled the airwaves with.
McCollum jokes that Scott's absence at forums is to avoid revealing how little he knows about Florida. Today the AG said that when Scott first filed for his candidacy he had only lived in the state one month longer than the legally required minimum.
Anyway, 20 minutes after arriving in Boca to camp out for the day and do live shots at the forum, Scott's campaign called to say there was some confusion and the candidate would be in the Panhandle.
Another "simple campaign conflict"? Who knows? But after the primary five days from now, Scott might be able to go wherever he wants without reporters hounding him, as both the Miami Herald poll and Quinnipiac have McCollum leading outside the margin of error.