Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has long had this trademarked Batman super-villain thing going on, what with all the record-setting fraud and the self-enrichment and the voter suppression and the drug testing that actually ended up costing the taxpayers instead of saving them money. And more recently, this living embodiment to electoral buyers' remorse has been knowingly using bogus figures to bollix up Medicaid expansion in his state. Lately, the only people in Florida who have been willing to say anything nice about him are the Sunshine State's Satanists.
But Rick Scott is not a complete monster, surely! Why, some tell the tale of a Rick Scott who, newly elected to the Florida statehouse, went out and adopted a rescue dog -- a perky Labrador retriever -- who Rick Scott's Facebook fans named "Reagan." Yes, he was the people's pooch, named for a GOP saint, and he'd go from being a rescue dog to living in the governor's mansion.
For a while, anyway. But soon, sightings of Reagan dried up, and reporters wanted to know what happened to him. As the Tampa Bay Times reports -- the search for the dog became a game of cat and mouse as Scott's various spokespeople weaseled around ponying up an answer:
Late Wednesday, Burgess testily emailed that he was working on an answer and recognized "the potential for a PR nightmare if the Tampa Bay Times doesn't receive a photo of Reagan next to today's copy of the Tampa Bay Times. So take it to the bank I'm getting you every bit of info I can lay my hands on.''
On Thursday Burgess said he was referring all questions about the dog to Melissa Sellers, the governor's new communications director. Sellers responded over two days that she was far too busy to find an answer to the question.
A spokesman for the governor's wife also declined to respond to questions about Reagan, saying only that they have one dog.
That dog was also a rescued Labrador retriever, but what happened to Reagan? The dog, I mean. Scott finally came clean:
"He was a rescue dog,'' Scott said, "and he couldn't be around anybody that was carrying anything, and so he wouldn't get better."
Scott said Reagan never bit anyone, but "scared the living daylights'' out of people at the mansion. He said one kitchen employee threatened to quit and photographer Eric Tournay was frightened when the dog "barked like crazy'' every time he saw him with a camera.
So the Scotts gave the dog back to his prior owner, Scott said, about a month after the family moved to Tallahassee. The governor's office on Monday told the Times it was trying to find Reagan and his new family.
Yeah, I can't help but feel that what Reagan wanted most of all was to escape.
UPDATE, 5:30 pm.: Channel 10 News in Tampa Bay reports that "Reagan" is now named "Pluto" and "is living on a horse ranch," which I hope is not a euphemism.
[Would you like to follow me on Twitter? Because why not?]
Earlier on HuffPost:
The Obama family's new dog, Bo, made his public debut in April 2009. The 6-month-old Portuguese water dog was a gift from Sen. Edward Kennedy, a fan of the breed. Here, Bo pulls Malia while Sasha and President Barack Obama follow. Click through for other presidential pets. (Ron Edmonds, AP)
Before Bo, two Scottish terriers shared the title of First Dog. Here, President George W. Bush and Laura carry their Scottish Terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, before departing via Marine One to their Crawford, Texas ranch in 2005. (Lawrence Jackson, AP)
The Bushes also had a cat, India. She died in 2009 at the age of 18. Barbara Bush, then 9, named the female black domestic shorthair after baseball player Ruben Sierra, known as El Indio. India, shown dressed up for Halloween in 2007, was also known as "Willie." (Shealah Craighead, The White House/Getty Images)
Socks, held here by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in 1999, did not get along with their chocolate Labrador retriever, Buddy, here with President Clinton in 1998. When the Clintons left the White House, Socks moved in with Betty Currie, Bill Clinton's former secretary. (AP | Getty Images)
George H.W. Bush had Millie, who co-authored a book as "told to" first lady Barbara Bush. 'Millie's Book' became a best-seller that outsold the 41st president's own memoirs. Here, Millie watches as President Bush gets a kiss from wife Barbara on the South Lawn of the White House before leaving on a 1992 trip. (Barry Thumma, AP)
The Reagans originally had a Bouvier des Flandres named Lucky, given to Nancy Reagan by the 1985 March of Dimes poster child Kristen Ellis. Lucky moved to the family's California ranch in 1995 after getting too big for the White House and was succeeded by Rex, a Cavalier King spaniel, here with his owners in 1986. (Dennis Cook, AP)
The Carters shared their presidential palace with a dog named Grits, here being petted by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Grits was given to first daughter Amy Carter by one of her teachers. The family also shared the White House with Misty Malarky Ying Yang, Amy's Siamese cat. (AP)
President Gerald Ford often sat with his dog Liberty, a golden retriever seen here in a 1974 photo, in the Oval Office. Liberty had a litter of pups while at the White House. Shan, first daughter Susan Ford's Siamese cat, also lived there. (AP)
President Nixon pats the head of his Irish setter, King Timahoe, as he walks from the Executive Office building to the White House in this 1970 photo. White House electrician Traphes Bryant holds back the other first family pets -- Pasha, a Yorkshire terrier, and Vickie, a miniature French poodle. (AP)
President Lyndon B. Johnson had beagles named Him and Her, a white collie named Blanco and a mixed breed named Yuki. President Johnson holds Her by the ears as White House visitors look on in a notable 1964 photo. This picture raised criticism from dog lovers. (Charles P. Gorry, AP)
The Kennedys were lucky they weren't required to have a zoo license during their time in the White House, from 1961 to 1963. The family's animals included dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks and a pony. (AP)
First lady Mamie Eisenhower stands outside the White House with her granddaughter, Barbara Anne, and the Eisenhower's pet Weimaraner, Heidi, in 1958. (Ed Clark, Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
President Harry Truman once said, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog." But after the president received this cocker spaniel, Feller, as a Christmas gift in 1947, he elected to give the puppy to the White House physician. Feller was handed off several more times before ending up on a farm in Ohio. Here, Feller is shown on White House Lawn in an undated photo. (Thomas D. Mcavoy, Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt rest at their Hyde Park, New York home in 1941. Mrs. Roosevelt is knitting as the president gives his attention to his dog, Fala. Fala had a bone every morning brought up on the president's breakfast tray and traveled with the president on both long and short trips. (AP)
Herbert Hoover poses with his police dog, King Tut, in this 1928 photo. This photo was widely circulated during the 1928 presidential campaign, and some observers credited it with helping boost Hoover's image in his election win over Democratic candidate Al Smith. (Library of Congress/AP)
President Calvin Coolidge once said, "Any man who does not like dogs and want them about does not deserve to be in the White House." He and first lady Grace Coolidge had a wide array of pets, including dogs, cats, canaries, wombats and raccoons. Here the couple is shown with one of their dogs on the White House portico in 1924. (AP)
President Warren Harding had a Airedale terrier, Laddie Boy, who had his own hand-carved chair so he could attend Cabinet meetings. He also delivered the newspaper to the president each day. Here, the pair is shown in a 1922 photo. (Library Of Congress/AP)
During World War I, sheep were brought to graze on the White House lawns in order to save the manpower required to mow the grounds. Wool from the sheep was sold to raise funds for the Red Cross. (Library of Congress) <br> Sources: CNN, Presidentialpetmuseum.com, AP, WhiteHouse.gov