[Update: 4:19 p.m. ET]
Donald Trump’s debate is receding fast. It was so ambitious at the outset: a Republican debate in Iowa a week before the nation’s first presidential primary.
But then candidates started turning the Donald down. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman quickly declined. Then Mitt Romney and Rick Perry said nope. And on Thursday, Michele Bachmann announced she, too, will pass.
So, it’s down to Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. And Trump told Don Imus on Fox Business Network Friday that he’s not sure of the debate’s future.
“So, are you still going to do the debate with just Gingrich and Rick Santorum?” Imus asked Trump.
“I don’t know, I have to look into it,” Trump said. “I have to see.”
Newsmax, the conservative news website that is hosting the debate, told the New York Times Friday that the debate is “pushing full steam ahead.”
“As we sit here right now, it’s going ahead,” said Steve Coz, Newsmax Media’s editorial director.
A sticking point for many of the candidates is the fact that Trump isn’t ruling out a presidential bid himself. If the right candidate isn’t nominated, Trump has said he will have to step up and take on an independent bid.
But perhaps more interesting than Trump debating his own debate is his admission that Bachmann asked him to be her running mate.
“She’d call me, she’d ask me for advice,” Trump said. “She said I should be her vice presidential … if she wins, she’d like to think about me for the vice presidency.”
“After all of that she just announced she’s not going doing the debate,” Trump added. “It’s unbelieveable. It’s called loyalty. How do you do that?”
We have contacted Bachmann’s campaign for comment, and will update the post if we hear back.
Watch the interview, via Mediaite.
David Taintor is TPM’s News Editor. He contributes to TPM’s Livewire coverage, among other areas. David is from Chanhassen, Minnesota, where, yes, it gets very cold. Reach him at taintor [at] talkingpointsmemo.com