Late Returns: Mitt Romney Will Skip One Of The Hundreds Of Debates Scheduled For 2011

06/21/2011 06:28 pm ET | Updated Aug 21, 2011

Jonathan Martin reports that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will take a pass on a July debate in Las Vegas, Nevada. That's bad news for Tucker Carlson's The Daily Caller, who is co-sponsoring the forum with Grover Norquist's Americans For Tax Reform. And yet, Romney will keep the rest of his debate dates through the end of the year. What's the issue with the Daily Caller/ATR debate? Seems there will be no teevee cameras on hand to broadcast Romney's answers:

While it will be held in a state Romney hopes to perform well in, the Nevada debate is not being carried by any national television outlet.

The move reflects the frontrunner's attempt to limit his exposure to opponents who almost certainly won't be as gentle with Romney as they were at the New Hampshire debate earlier this month.

I'm not sure why Romney figures this July debate would feature a lack of gentleness. Romney signed Norquist's Taxpayer Protection Pledge in 2008 and that appears to have carried over into 2012. And it seems to me that best way to not endear yourself to a start-up media organization that will be covering its first presidential campaign -- as the Caller will be -- is to be the de facto frontrunner and bail on their debate.

Of course, the more logical conclusion is that there are just too many damned debates on the calendar: between now and the end of 2011 -- the end of 2011! -- there will be this Daily Caller/ATR debate, the NBC News/Politico debate that was postponed from earlier in the year, two CNN debates (one with Tea Party Express and one with the Western Republican Leadership Conference), a Washington Post/Bloomberg debate, and two Fox News debates in Iowa and Florida. That's way too many debates! I'm exhausted and depressed just thinking about them.

Romney would probably be inclined to skip more of them if it wasn't for the fact that the NBC News debate was moved because he wasn't a candidate yet, the CNN/WRLC debate gets Romney out to Vegas, the Tea Party Express debate has the words "Tea Party" in it, the Bloomberg debate will probably focus on the economy -- Romney's key issue, and the two Fox debates, as Martin points out, are in two states whose straw polls Romney is already skipping. So this Daily Caller debate is probably just the odd man out.

Oh! But Martin also reports that Romney will "participate in debates held in South Carolina and Michigan after October." And then, in 2012, there will be more of these things. So, hopefully, Harold Camping was right about the world ending in October.


Alex Klein says that while "InTrade’s cold hard data can seem soothing to many a frazzled political journalist, there’s just one problem: In this context, so early in a nomination race, the numbers it produces are virtually useless." True, but the pure, mountain-grown uselessness of early campaign coverage never stopped anyone from producing it! [The New Republic]

Alex Pareene is right when he says that it's time for President Barack Obama to finish up his "evolving" and come out and openly support marriage equality, which he obviously supports in secret and the only reason he hasn't said so is because no one's pointed out to him that a majority of Americans support same-sex marriage and this number will only grow larger as time goes on, so maybe stop listening to timid advisors and show the same kind of political courage that many New York Democrats and not a few New York Republicans seem to be capable of showing. [War Room @ Salon]

As it turns out Thad McCotter's Congressional district is looking like it's going to avoid getting axed in redistricting, so the hopes of a McCotter campaign in 2012 seem to be fading. [Political Wire]

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