Politics & Government

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is learning job as he goes

TALLAHASSEE -- Smiling and a bit out of breath, Gov. Rick Scott posed for pictures after finishing a mile-long run to raise awareness for Special Olympics.

Any goodwill from the gesture, however, washed away hours later when he signed an executive order cutting state spending for the care of disabled Floridians by as much as 40 percent.

The dichotomy embodies the unusual leadership style that has colored Scott’s first 100 days in office, a symbolic marker he’ll cross Thursday.

On one hand, Scott is doing exactly what he promised, setting a decidedly more conservative tone in Tallahassee and using his status as a political outsider to push an aggressively pro-business, job-creating agenda.

But even Scott’s analysis of his short time in office is peppered with contradictions: He’s awed by how fast the days fly by, but he’s surprised at the length of time it takes to massage massive changes through the Legislature.

“You learn in this job there’s so many things that you didn’t deal with as a private citizen much,” said Scott, a hospital executive and investor before running his first campaign last year.

The start has been as eventful as any governor’s in recent history. But Scott has not executed on the big ideas as quickly or as smoothly as his predecessors, the result of a political neophyte still searching for his legs.

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