Gov. Rick Scott appeared on CNN’s Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien this morning, where he frustrated the morning show host by refusing to give any specifics on policy shifts he could support in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre.
It was in the final four minutes of the seven-minute long interview that the conversation shifted to Newtown. As O’Brien asked Scott to give specifics and the governor avoided providing them, the host expressed her frustration.
Scott said that he feels sympathy for the families affected by the shooting, that he had directed Florida schools to re-evaluate their security plans and that he supports the Second Amendment. But, even when prompted with specific examples, he refused to say which gun proposals he might support and repeated that that policy debate will come later.
“My approach on things like this is to, one, respect the families, mourn their losses, make sure our schools are safe and then start the conversation and then listen to the Floridians,” the governor said.
O’Brien vented a bit, saying she wanted politicians to say what they’re going to do and take action before there is another tragedy.
“I actually think that I’ve covered enough of them that if we wait until we bump up against the next tragedy -- and there will be one, there’s no doubt about it -- so I guess I would like to hear from elected officials what are you willing to change,” she said.
The interview started out friendly enough, with Scott praising O’Brien for the care she has shown in covering the mass shooting in recent days. Then they talked for several minutes about the long lines in Florida during early voting and on election day and what Scott is doing to fix the problems.
He pointed out that Secretary of State Ken Detzner is working with the supervisors to create legislation and he is focusing on three main priorities.
“One: length of the ballot; two: we’ve got to allow our supervisors more flexibility on the size of the polling locations; and three: the number of days that we have,” the governor said. “We’ve got to go back and look at the number of days of early voting that we have.”
O’Brien asked Scott if he accepted any blame for the elections issues after refusing to extend early voting hours. He said he was simply complying with the laws in place, especially the elections changes approved by the Legislature in 2011.
This is when she brought up new polling numbers that show Scott still struggling to win over voters. The Quinnipiac University Poll released today said that 52 percent of Florida voters do not believe Scott deserves a second term and that 53 percent of Republicans want someone else from the party to challenge the governor’s re-election bid.
“You’re suffering the consequences of some of the things that you could have changed,” O’Brien said.