In an interview Tuesday with Neil Cavuto on Fox News, Mitt Romney announced that he will not be participating in the NewsMax debate on December 27 — which will be hosted by Donald Trump, the businessman, media personality and, most controversially, prominent birther activist.
Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have so far accepted the invitation. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have turned down the invitation, and gone out of their way to reject Trump himself as a debate moderator who would demean the process. In Romney’s case, however, he is simply chalking it up to scheduling.
“No, I’m not participating in that,” Romney said, when asked by Cavuto. “We have two debates in December that I’ve agreed to participate in. The rest of the month is gonna be spent campaigning, doing the political work that you’ve got to do, to get the support of people in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida.
“So we’ll be hitting the trail, I spoke with Donald Trump earlier today, indicated that we just can’t make this debate, we’re gonna focus on the other two we’ve got, and on some campaigning.”
“And what did he say?” Cavuto asked.
“He understood my perspective, and wished me well.”
“That was it? Cavuto said. “It wasn’t more colorful than that?”
“No, it was not colorful,” he explained. “We had a nice chat, and I just told him at this late date, and with the other debates we’ve already scheduled, and with the number of requests — by the way, I think there are several other, five or ten other debate requests we’ve had for December or January. We just can’t do them all, so we try and do a couple a month.”