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Does Gov. Rick Scott really not know we're called Tampa Bay?

7:11 PM, Nov 2, 2011   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - It is the quote heard round the Bay. Florida Governor Rick Scott is asked about the St. Petersburg Times changing its name to the Tampa Bay Times.  His reaction: "That's interesting. ... Does the region call itself the Tampa Bay region?"

Steve Bousquet, the Tallahassee Bureau Chief for the St. Petersburg Times, tells 10 News he and others were surprised by Scott's answer.

"No he was not joking. He seemed to be a little bit unfamiliar with the term," Bousquet said.

The Governor's answer also surprised others after hearing about his response.

"It's not something we can just laugh off," Tampa council member Frank Reddick said. "I think the governor needs to go get a history lesson," he added.

10 News asked a handful of Bay area residents for their thoughts on the Governor's statement and most seemed equally as surprised.

"Wow, that's incredible," said Mike Zeldon.

"I would think he needs to spend a little more time down here," said Dan Penn.

However, Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn was quick to give Scott a pass, noting mistakes can happen when you're constantly under the public microscope.

"If you look at the schedule we keep, we're running 15, 18 hours a day. Every word is covered. We're human, we're going to make mistakes, we're going to misspeak," Buckhorn said.

A spokesperson for the Governor issued a statement Wednesday afternoon calling the comment "small talk," adding "To imply anything further is ridiculous."

But Bousquest points out while Scott ran for office as an outsider he really is a Florida outsider.

"(Scott) moved to Naples in June of 2003 and had lived in the state just long enough to qualify to make the qualification to get on the ballot to run for governor."

Which could partly explain the governor asking, "Does the region call itself the Tampa Bay region?"

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