Dean of the Florida Capitol Press Corps?

 December 8, 2011

The biggest story today out of Tallahassee: the Daily Show’s Aasif Mandvi interrupts Governor Rick Scott’s budget announcement press conference by asking the Governor to pee in a cup to prove that he is not on drugs, mocking the Governor’s requirements that welfare recipients pay for and submit a urine sample before collecting benefits.

The other story: who saved the Governor from Mandvi.

About five years ago, an old press flack once told me that Steve Bousquet, the St. Petersburg Times‘ Tallahassee bureau chief, had sources everywhere…but not just any sources. His sources, I was told, were institutional. And that if I was going to be a source, I’d have to stick around for a while, a long while. I’m pretty sure that was good advice.

I don’t need to heap praise on Bousquet, but he is a big deal and a phenomenal journalist. However, I do think it’s worth noting that today he seemed to confirm that in addition to his role leading the Times bureau, he is also one of the deans of the Florida Capitol Press Corps.

Watch this video and tell me who has more command of the room, the Governor of the 4th most populous state in the country, or Steve Bousquet?

I’m not old enough to know every other dean, although I assume that Lucy Morgan was Bousquet’s predecessor, nor am I important enough to anoint Bousquet the new dean. I do think it’s clear, though, that not only did Bousquet wrestle control of the room back from Mandvi’s bit, he also set the tone for the rest of the press conference, holding Governor Scott accountable for the potential implications of his budget recommendations.

All that being said, I can’t wait for Mandvi’s report. I love the Daily Show.

*Update 12.8.11*

Lots of great feedback on this blog post via email. Obviously, there are a lot of other reporters who are worthy of being called one of the deans of the Florida Capitol Press Corps, in fact, I got quite a lot of lists. I would go even further and say that my use of the word dean is a little misplaced. Either way, props to Steve and the rest of the press corps for being the best Capitol Press Corps in the country – I’m sure I’ll find no argument with that.