Florida Gov. Rick Scott brought his familiar message of more jobs, less government and lower taxes to Washington, D.C., on Saturday morning, making his speaking debut at the Conservative Political Action Conference.
CPAC, as it’s known, is a high-profile event for Republicans who want higher office or influence over the direction of the conservative movement.
Scott crafted his usual talking points for the 2012 presidential campaign, telling Republican candidates to stay focused on jobs.
“The issues when I ran for governor in Florida in 2010 were not much different than the issues this year. In fact, there is one issue that stands head and shoulders above everything else: creating jobs for Americans,” Scott said.
“I made that issue the central theme of my campaign, seven steps to 700,000 jobs in seven years. I called it the 7-7-7 plan,” he added, drawing chuckles from the audience. “Now they say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, so you can imagine how flattered I was when Herman Cain surged to the lead behind his 9-9-9 plan. I was first.”
As he did during Florida’s presidential primary campaign, Scott steered clear of making an endorsement.
“While many of you may differ on who your choice is for president, I think there’s one thing we can all agree on: Any one of these candidates has a superior plan to turn our economy around and would do a far better job than the current occupant of the White House,” he said.
Scott’s halting delivery seemed to confound audience members, who at times appeared unsure about when to applaud or respond. Still, his frequent mentions of freedom and opportunity drew an unmistakably friendly reaction.
“As you know, in less than nine months, the fate of our nation will be decided. The fate of individual rights will be decided. The opportunity for American families, it’ll be decided,” Scott said. “In November, when the political dust settles, let it be us that answered the call of who will take responsibility for America’s future. Let each of us say, ‘I will.’ “