On Thursday, Mitt Romney‘s campaign announced that they had no plans to participate in a March 1 debate in Atlanta, sponsored by CNN and the Georgia Republican Party. The news was first reported by CBS News/National Journal.
In an e-mail, the Romney campaign said that they were unable to make the debate because of scheduling demands before the series of primaries and caucuses on March 6, known as Super Tuesday.
“Governor Romney will be spending a lot of time campaigning in Georgia and Ohio ahead of Super Tuesday,” wrote Andrea Saul, a campaign spokeswoman. “With eight other states voting on March 6, we will be campaigning in other parts of the country and unable to schedule the CNN Georgia debate. We have participated in 20 debates, including eight from CNN.”
Mr. Romney does, however, still intend to participate in next Wednesday night’s CNN debate in Arizona.
Mr. Romney is not the only candidate sitting out the March 1 debate. A spokesman for Rick Santorum told a CBS News/National Journal reporter that he had “no plans of doing it right now.” And CNN said that Representative Ron Paul of Texas told the network on Thursday that he also did not plan to attend.
Upon being told that Mr. Romney would skip the March 1 debate, Newt Gingrich, campaigning in Los Angeles, said he expected to participate, then offered a reason why Mr. Romney would want to avoid confrontation.
“The Romney model is to go to Wall Street and raise huge amounts of money to run negative ads,” Mr. Gingrich said, “and you can understand why having to defend that strategy is probably not something he’s very happy with.”
CNN, in a statement, said that “without full participation of all four candidates,” it would not hold a Super Tuesday debate.
That means next Wednesday’s debate in Mesa, Ariz., will be the 21st of the race so far, and the candidates and their staff members — particularly Mr. Romney’s — have grumbled about their frequency. But now, the primary season of debates may finally be coming to an end.
Source: the NY Times.