Saturday, December 3, 2011

Romney Declines Lincoln-Douglas Debate Against Gingrich

Honestly, I'm not surprised that Romney declined. I think a one-on-one debate with Gingrich would do irreparable harm to his chances. 

By the way, Jon Huntsman has accepted Gingrich's offer. The Huntsman-Gingrich debate is set for December 12th in New Hampshire. - Reggie

With the Republican presidential primary appearing to have narrowed into a two-man contest, Human Events and Red State moved quickly to lock down a date for a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate between Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

The two organizations went so far this past Monday as to firm up the Annenberg Theater at the Newseum in Washington as the venue on Dec. 19 after another debate originally scheduled that day was canceled. For its part, the Newseum was excited to host the pre-primary forum.

There was just one problem. While Gingrich was ready to take his place on the stage, the Romney campaign politely declined in a series of mostly e-mail exchanges.

As Joe Guerriero, publisher of Human Events and Red State, put it to RCP: “Newt was all over it, and the Romney camp basically said no. It wasn’t a harsh no, but it was a no.”

A Gingrich spokesman confirmed to RCP that the candidate was interested and accepted the invitation, but a Romney spokeswoman didn’t return a request for comment.

Guerriero explained that the impetus for the debate was this: Romney has long been presumed to be the nominee. But with Gingrich surging in the polls, why shouldn’t the Republican base get a chance to see the two top candidates go toe-to-toe?

“No disrespect to any of the other candidates,” Guerriero said, but given the state of the country, the economy, and the race to date, if Romney is to be the nominee, "he needs to go against the best debater with the deepest understanding of policy both domestic and foreign, and that appears to be Newt Gingrich.”

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