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Gov. Rick Scott skips tea party debate, heads north

Gov. Rick Scott attended a Tea Party Express rally in Jacksonville on Saturday, but won't be watching the group's Republican presidential debate tonight in Tampa.

He's off to Philadelphia for Republican Governor's Association meetings and has a dinner scheduled for tonight during the debate.

We're told Scott, who said he's watched "parts" of the previous GOP debates, is also planning to spend time in New York on Tuesday, where he'll attend a fundraising dinner (still checking who's raising the funds...) and Wedneday for some media interviews.

Scott said he hopes the presidential candidates talk about creating jobs during he debate tonight, which starts at 8 p.m. and is hosted by CNN and the Tea Party Express.

"Without jobs we don't have the money for any of the safety nets we have, we can't afford any of the government programs we have, so it's jobs. That's what I'd ask them about," Scott told reporters today.

-Times/Herald reporter Katie Sanders contributed to this post.