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Scott disputes global warming, won't entirely rule out nearshore drilling

RS1 In a wide-ranging interview Monday aboard his campaign bus, GOP gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott said science does not support global warming. Asked if he believes in climate change, he said "No."

"I have not been convinced," he said. Asked what he needs to convince him, "Something more convincing than what I've read."

Scott finds himself in an awkward position as he completes the final leg of his six-day statewide bus tour in the oil-ravaged Panhandle. Scott continues to support offshore drilling though he said drilling within 10 miles of the Florida coast won't proceed until it is safer. "We are not going to drill now," he said. "It's not safe. It doesn't make any sense." (Read more here.)

But he refused to entirely rule out drilling in state waters, even though most of the Panhandle residents he met ardently oppose it.

"It's been an emotional black cloud over the Panhandle," said Rep. Jimmy Patronis, who attended a Scott event at the new Panama City airport.

On the issue of campaign finance, Scott criticized his rival Bill McCollum for paying his staffers with money from the Republican Party of Florida. He said McCollum -- who is running low on campaign cash -- should refund the party the money.

"I think that's wrong," he said. "I don't think the party should be paying for any candidates."

State law allows the party to pay staff expenses for its candidates' campaigns, but Scott declined the help because he didn't think it was proper.