The Washington Times - January 25, 2012, 12:38PM

Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott has made a pointed effort to stay out of the presidential contest under way in his state, but he made it clear Wednesday he’s a big fan of Mitt Romney’s.

“If you were going to go hire somebody — we’re basically hiring a new president — would you go hire someone that was successful in business or somebody that was unsuccessful?” the first-term governor and former health-care executive said in an interview on The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News.”

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“The thing that Mitt Romney has going for him is he was successful in business. He lives the American dream. He said, ‘Look, this is the greatest country in the world, and I can go build companies,’ and that’s what he did. That’s what we all strive to do, we all want to be a part — whether we want to start these companies or work for these companies — that’s what we rely on. It changes each of our families’ lives,” Mr. Scott said.

Mr. Scott, like Mr. Romney a former CEO and venture capitalist who made millions before turning to politics, has not endorsed any of the candidates. He did not attend Monday’s Republican debate in Tampa, Fla., and has no plans to attend Thursday’s follow-up debate.

“I think the voters ought to make the decision,” he told radio hosts John McCaslin and Dana Mills.

The governor, who has seen his once-dismal approval ratings improve as tourism in the state has rebounded and jobless numbers have shrunk, had some advice for the remaining four candidates in the GOP field, which also includes former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Texas Rep. Ron Paul.

“I think both candidates — or all the candidates — they’re spending too much time attacking each other,” he said. “What they ought to be doing is saying, ‘This is my plan,’ and it ought to be three, five things [that will] turn the economy around.”