Gov. Rick Scott's strategy for getting FL back to work

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," March 28, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Air Force One fueling up for Florida again, but instead of hitting the links tomorrow, the president is teeing up for jobs first.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says, well, he's in the right state to do that because job creation has indeed been happening in his state.

The governor joins me now.

Governor, good to have you.

GOV. RICK SCOTT, R - FL: Neil, we're glad the president is coming, but he's a little late to come and visit one of our ports.

As you know, the federal government has not been funding their portion of our port structure, our port construction, and so Florida taxpayers have been doing it. We have gotten a lot done. Just at the port he's going to, Port of Miami, they were supposed to put up $75 million. They didn't. So, he is a little late. But I'm glad he is going to come down and hopefully brag about our significant turnaround here in the state, where unemployment has dropped faster than any state but one, and in little over two years, we have generated around 300,000 private sector jobs.

CAVUTO: He seems to be working more on behalf of a guy who hasn't announced he is running for your job, but had your job, Charlie Crist.

What do you think of that?

SCOTT: Well, here's what I think.

The four years before I became governor, the state lost 832,000 jobs. Unemployment tripled from 3.5 percent to 11.1 percent. Like the federal government, the state borrowed a lot of money, $5.2 billion, and housing collapsed. In two years, it's a -- it's a big change, a staggering contrast; 300,000 private sector jobs being created.

Unemployment went from 11.1 to 7.8 percent. Hopefully, we will have good numbers for February tomorrow. So it's a dramatic turnaround against my -- the prior four years and my first two years in office.

CAVUTO: Well, there's no doubt that things are improving there. You don't seem to be getting a lot of the advantage you would think that a governor, sitting governor would for that, at least in polls. That could change. You and I have talked about that before, Governor.

But now out of the blue, you get criticized by Allen West, the former congressman, who says by expanding Medicaid in your state, you have effectively sort of given up the ghost.

Quoting him, he said: "I think when you say that you're going to stand up for something and then you kind of back off -- there are a number of Republicans who did this sort of thing -- it's kind of making people question, really, where is your backbone?"

What do you think about what he is saying?


SCOTT: Well, Neil, think about it.

I was the first one that started running national ads to try to make sure we had the right health care program, a free market program, and I fought ObamaCare. I was the first one to run national ads. I organized a group...

CAVUTO: Well, that's why he's saying it's all the more ironic that you end up endorsing what is the federal expansion of Medicaid.

SCOTT: Well, here's what happened, though.

The law passed. The Supreme Court upheld it. Governor Romney lost the election last fall. So now we're in a situation where our taxpayers are paying for it. So, I can't in good conscience say, while the federal government pays 100 percent of it, deny Floridians access to health care.

So I'm going to work my best to do the right thing with health care.

But, look, I want to make sure our citizens get as much coverage as they can.

CAVUTO: So, you don't feel that you were kind of placed in a box on that, that you were in a no-win situation?

SCOTT: Well, you know -- you know, Neil, here's what I do.

I make the best decision I can. But you know what Florida families care about? Jobs, jobs, jobs, improving education for their kids. And that's why I'm so focused on making sure every Floridian has the opportunity for a job and their families have the opportunity to make sure their children get a great education.

CAVUTO: Real quickly, on real estate, Governor, we were talking to a couple of real estate experts who say Florida is turning around. Are you buying this turnaround or are you nervous that it doesn't last?

Of course...


CAVUTO: ... at Florida as having been the ground zero of that, right? What do you think happens?


SCOTT: Oh Neil, you better hurry up and buy your house.


SCOTT: Home prices are up. Home construction is up. New home construction is up. Consumer confidence is up.

So, we're -- no, we're heading in the right direction.


SCOTT: We have more tourists in our state than ever. Exports are up.

CAVUTO: All right.

SCOTT: We're doing the right thing here. And we have had a big turnaround.

Hey, Neil, I have an ad up right now. I want to make sure Governor Perry knows that we're going to be the number one place. We're going to learn to brag that we're the number one place for job creation.

CAVUTO: That's right. You guys are competing to get those jobs.

OK. Thank you.

SCOTT: We're -- and we're winning.

CAVUTO: Thank you, Governor. We will see.

SCOTT: All right.

CAVUTO: Thank you, sir.

SCOTT: See you, Neil.

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