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Romney staff watching Fla. official’s job talk

TALLAHASSEE — Mitt Romney's presidential campaign asked Florida Governor Rick Scott to tone down his statements heralding improvements in the state's economy because they clash with the presumptive Republican nominee's message that the nation is suffering under President Obama, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Scott, a Republican, was asked to say that the state's jobless rate could improve faster under a Romney presidency, according to the people, who asked not to be named.

What's unfolding in Florida highlights a dilemma for the Romney campaign: how to allow Republican governors to take credit for economic improvements in their states while faulting Obama's stewardship of the national economy. Republican governors in Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, and Wisconsin also have highlighted improving economies.

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Scott should follow the advice of the Romney campaign and it won't undermine his own message, said Mac Stipanovich, a political strategist and lobbyist in Florida.

Romney's campaign is eager to sell its economy message in Florida, one of the most competitive electoral battle grounds, where the past three presidential races were decided by 5 percentage points or less.

A Romney adviser made the request this week to Scott's staff after press releases from the governor's reelection campaign and Internet messages from the Florida Chamber of Commerce trumpeted the state's drop to 8.6 percent unemployment rate in May from 8.7 percent in April, the people said. The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.

Scott's news release said the jobless rate had dropped 11 consecutive months in Florida and asked supporters to ''spread the news.''

Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul said Romney often praises governors ''for their ability to overcome the job-stifling policies of the Obama administration.''

A Scott spokesman didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Bloomberg News

Senate backs proposal to end public funding for conventions

WASHINGTON — The Senate endorsed a proposal to end public funding for the Democratic and Republican national nominating conventions.

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The Senate voted 95-4 vote to adopt Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn's plan to end taxpayer funding for conventions.

Coburn offered it as an amendment to legislation setting farm policy.

He said it is hypocritical for lawmakers to spend public money on their party conventions after criticizing the General Services Administration for spending $823,000 on a 2010 conference near Las Vegas.

The nominating conventions are funded through a combination of public and private money. Congress appropriated $100 million for security at the conventions with an additional $36 million going to the two parties for other convention expenses.

The program is designed to reduce the influence of campaign contributions.

The funding comes from a $3 voluntary check-off on income tax returns.

Bloomberg News