NEW YORK -- There has always been friction between Mitt Romney and certain Republican governors over how best to frame the state of the economy. While the presumptive GOP nominee has argued during his campaign that the recovery is far too slow, the electoral implications for making that case in states that include Virginia, Ohio and Michigan are much more complicated.
Republican governors Bob McDonnell of Virginia, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan all must show that they are leading their states' economies in the right direction. Occasionally, that means discussing the economy in rosy terms, putting them at odds with the Romney campaign.
Bloomberg News dug a bit deeper than usual On Wednesday night into how much friction this has caused, reporting that the Romney campaign has asked Florida Gov. Rick Scott to tone "down his statements heralding improvements in the state’s economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee’s message."
The story is well reported, going so far as to quote a Republican operative as saying that the ads being run by the Florida GOP seemed like they were crafted at President Barack Obama's re-election campaign headquarters.
The state Republican party ran a television ad in March crediting Scott, who is a year and a half into a four-year term, for drops in the unemployment rate.
'Companies are hiring, expanding, putting more Floridians to work,' the ad narrator said. 'Florida’s unemployment rate continues to get better.'
Florida’s jobless rate was 11.1 percent in December 2010 before Scott took office and 8.2 percent two years earlier when Obama was sworn in.
'The first time I saw that ad I initially thought it was an Obama ad,' said Brad Coker, managing director of the Washington-based Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. 'They’ll have to tamp it down.'
The Romney campaign is quoted in the piece as arguing that the former governor routinely praises Scott and others for overcoming " the job-stifling policies of the Obama administration.” But, not surprisingly, the Obama campaign wasn't willing to grant them a pass. Obama's campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt emailed the following statement:
Whether it's touting the auto recovery, the resurgence of manufacturing, or the growth of our exports, Republican governors across the country have recognized what Mitt Romney refuses to: that we've made progress since the economic crisis. Not only does Mitt Romney deny that progress -- he rejects the policies that led to it and would instead return to the policies that caused the crisis in the first place.
It's worth noting that among state economies, Florida's is doing relatively poorly. It's also worth noting that this campaign theme was played out in the 2004 election as well, with John Kerry arguing that George W. Bush had not shepherded a struggling economy in an overwhelming positive direction. The Bush team responded by essentially accusing Kerry of being a sourpuss.
Below, Romney's greatest hits (in song):
(May 28, 2012) -- Despite a resurgence of Donald Trump's birther claims, Romney refused to repudiate the billionaire, who has been helping with his 2012 campaign efforts. "You know, I don't agree with all the people who support me ... I need to get 50.1 percent or more and I'm appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people," Romney said. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(April 16, 2012) -- In an interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer, Romney discussed the political fallout over strapping his dog Seamus to a car roof. He admits that he probably would not do it again. (Handout)
WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2012) -- Speaking before the Newspaper Association of America, Romney attacked Barack Obama on his health record, claiming the president "has taken a series of steps that end Medicare as we know it." (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, N.Y. (March 14, 2012) -- Romney became testy on Fox News while discussing his appeal to lower-income voters. On the same day, Occupy Wall Street protesters staged a demonstration outside Mitt's Waldorf Astoria hotel fundraiser. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
PASCAGOULA, Miss. (March 9, 2012) -- While on the trail in Alabama and Mississippi, Romney got in touch with his Southern side, learning how to say "y'all" and liking his grits. With those new experiences in hand, he admitted that "strange things are happening to me." (Photo: AP/Evan Vucci)
DETROIT, Mich. (Feb. 24, 2012) -- While speaking before the Detroit Economic Club at Ford Field, Romney listed not two, not three, but four American-made cars that he and his wife, Ann, owned. Among the vehicles: "a couple of Cadillacs." (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)
TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2012) -- In an interview with CNN, Romney noted that he is "not concerned about the very poor," citing the social safety net for that segment of the populace. (Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
THE VILLAGES, Fla. (Jan. 31, 2012) -- On the eve of Florida's primary, Romney led his supporters in a singing of the patriotic song. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Jan. 19, 2012) -- During CNN's GOP debate, Romney refused to commit to disclosing his tax returns, offering no apologies for his success. (Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)
NASHUA, N.H. (Jan. 9, 2012) -- In a speech about insurance options, Romney tells audience members, "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." (Photo:AP/Charles Dharapak)
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (Oct. 27, 2011) -- Back in June 2011, Romney said humans are somewhat tied to climate change. By October, he had reversed course, saying "We don't know what causes climate change." (Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)