GOP Talked to Joe Scarborough About New York Senate Race [Updated]

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Photo: Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/Getty Images

A report in The Hill claiming that Joe Scarborough, the former Republican Florida congressman who now hosts MSNBC's Morning Joe, is being recruited to run for the Senate against Florida Democrat Bill Nelson in 2012 was quickly shot down this morning by the National Republican Senatorial Committee. "This is what happens when a publication in this 24-hour media cycle tries to create news and not report the news. The story is not true," a source told Politico, kind of cattily. Texas senator John Cornyn, the head of the NRCC, later cleared things up in a tweet: "Last cycle, Joe and I talked about his interest in NY, not FL Senate race, so this story is wrong." Still, if Scarborough wanted to run for the Senate anywhere, anytime (Kirsten Gillibrand is up for reelection again in 2012 ...), we're sure the GOP wouldn't mind, and Cornyn implies as much in the Hill story.

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Update: Scarborough has confirmed the original Hill report:

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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough on Friday said Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) has asked him about running against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) in 2012.

Scarborough said in an interview with The Hill, "John suggested last month that I consider running for the Senate against Bill Nelson. His intent was clear and unambiguous and echoed his quotes in The Hill. However, I love the job I have and have no intention of running for the Senate."

Now the NRSC is basically calling Scarborough a liar. “We will leave it to others to try to ascertain Joe’s motives behind his statement today, but just like the story in The Hill — it is false,'' the NRSC's executive director Rob Jesmer says, adding that "it stretches the bounds of credulity to even see why he would be considered a strong, viable candidate in Florida this cycle. There are already a number of far stronger candidates looking at the Florida Senate race and we are confident that any one of them can beat Bill Nelson in 2012."

If we had to guess, we'd say the NRSC casually approached Scarborough, who turned them down, and now they're desperately trying to convince people they're 100 percent satisfied with the candidates who might actually run.