**Written by Doug Powers
The idea started out with such promise, but so far only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have agreed to participate in the Newsmax-hosted, Trump moderated debate on December 27th in Des Moines, Iowa. It might stay that way.
The latest candidates to decline the invite are Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann:
Perry’s Communications Director Ray Sullivan said they “respectfully declined the invitation for the December 27th debate” citing Perry’s “traditional retail campaigning in the days and weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus” as top priority for the longest-running Texas governor’s presidential campaign.
Although the debate was also endorsed by 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin, so far former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and Gingrich are the only candidates who have agreed to attend. Perry now joins former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, and Romney, all of whom previously declined to participate.
Bachmann’s campaign announced later on Thursday that she would be skipping the debate, as well.
Meanwhile, Trump says he’s close to announcing his endorsement, and if “must be present to win” rules apply, we can safely narrow it down to one of the two candidates who have said they’ll show up:
The good news for the channel on which the debate is scheduled to air, Ion Television, is that even if all the candidates drop out, Trump will make sure that show will go on. Sources tell me The Donald plans engage in a Lincoln/Douglas-style debate with his hair if necessary.
For the record, I don’t think Donald Trump asking questions at a debate presents a credibility issue for Republican hopefuls… if that’s their concern. I mean, all the GOP candidates showed up for a previous debate that was moderated by Wolf Blitzer, and a couple of days later Wolf was interviewing Kermit the Frog for cryin’ out loud.
**Written by Doug Powers
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