Florida governor denies claim Romney asked him to downplay economic gains

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is denying a story that claimed Mitt Romney's campaign asked the governor to downplay economic progress in his state.

Bloomberg cited two unnamed sources in reporting that the Romney campaign made the request because the sunny economic news out of the Sunshine State conflicted with the Republican presidential candidate's message that the economy under President Obama is sagging.

The GOP governor was reportedly asked to say, instead, that Florida's unemployment rate would be better under Romney.

But Scott told Fox News Radio on Friday that "it's not true that the Romney camp has asked us to do anything."

Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz also said the alleged conversation didn't happen.

"It's nice to have even Democrats and President Obama's campaign pushing a story acknowledging the good job Governor Scott is doing in Florida, but no Romney official has asked Governor Scott or staff to change our message," she said in a statement. "That being said, we know we have a long way to go to reach Governor Scott's goal of 700,000 jobs in seven years."

Scott's campaign and his administration had recently touted gains in Florida's economy. A blog on his campaign site earlier this month declared that the state's recovery hit an "important milestone" as the jobless rate for May dipped to 8.6 percent, "our lowest unemployment rate since 2008." That's still higher than the national rate, but it marks a downward trend for a state hit hard by the recession and housing bust.

Florida is a critical battleground state but hardly the only one led by a GOP governor eager to tout economic improvements under his or her watch. Governors in Ohio, Michigan, Virginia and other potential swing states face the same political challenge of wanting to highlight gains in their states without attributing that success to Obama's policies.