Governor Rick Scott says his letters congratulating Floridians aren't campaigning – they're part of his job. But former governor Charlie Crist, Scott's opponent in next year's election, takes issue with some of the content.
Scott, who plans to spend $100 million on his re-election bid, has been sending congratulatory letters to new attorneys, student achievers and people who get business licenses.
The taxpayer-funded letters echo Scott's campaign talking points: that in the four years before he took office, Florida lost more than 832,000 jobs, while unemployment tripled but now the state has 365,000 new jobs and unemployment is 7%.
Scott said Tuesday he's not politicking on the state dime, but encouraging the deserving.
"Gosh, I think every Floridian ought to brag about our state", Scott said. "We live in a great state. Jobs are coming back, people are doing wonderful things, we've got great teachers, we've got great volunteers, we've got heroes. I want to congratulate everybody in our state that's doing a great job, and I'll continue to do that."
In his letters, Scott never mentions that other states and the global economy are recovering as well. Nor does he mention Crist, who was governor during the great recession, by name.
Asked Tuesday if he was responsible for Florida's job losses, Crist said everyone was.
"But the notion that one governor of one of the 50 states in America had something to do with the global economic meltdown of 2008 is silly. I think people get that and understand it."
Crist is running as a Democrat after serving one term as a Republican governor, from 2007 to 2011.