Gov. Scott unveils new video game lab, denies Romney is avoiding him

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ORLANDO, Fla. —

Gov. Rick Scott hosted the opening of a new digital media lab in downtown Orlando Friday while fending off questions that GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is avoiding campaigning with him.

Scott was at UCF’s Center For Emerging Media for the opening of the new EA Innovation Lab, where students will conduct video game design and research. The lab is a partnership between UCF and video game maker Electronic Arts. Students who successfully intern in the lab will have opportunities to be employed at Electronic Arts after graduation.

Students will begin training in the lab in September.

Scott said it’s opportunities like these that are a result of a program he pushed through the Legislature two years ago that provides incentives to companies that create high-tech jobs in Florida.

EA Sports Vice President Daryl Holt lauded the incentives program.

“Over the course from 2011 to 2013, EA will have added over a 150 high-scale, high-wage jobs here in Central Florida,’’ Holt said.

But success stories like these have also resulted in a ripple in the race for the White House.

Bloomberg, the business news service, reported earlier this week that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney asked Scott to downplay economic progress in Florida.

Not true, Scott said Friday.         

“My job is to continue to talk about what we are doing.  I'm promoting that Florida is the best place to do business, but no one from the Romney campaign has asked me to change that,’’ Scott said.

Yet Romney never appears with Scott, his fellow Republican, when he visits Florida for campaign events.

WFTV reporter Bianca Castro asked Scott, “Every time Mitt Romney visits Florida, he doesn't appear with you. Do you think he's dissing you?’’

Scott replied, “I know he's working hard to become president and I'm working hard to become a very a successful governor, so we are both busy.’’

And the governor said he will remain busy trying to build Florida as a leader in digital media. The new EA Innovation Lab and the UCF Center For Emerging Media are next to Orlando’s Creative Village, which the city hopes to make a hub for high-tech and digital media jobs.