Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, who have both formed presidential exploratory committees, will not be taking part in the first GOP debate in South Carolina tomorrow night:
Romney, a putative front-runner for the party’s nomination, won’t participate in the debate in South Carolina because of its early position in the cycle, according to top aide Matt Rhoades.
“Gov. Romney will not be participating in this week’s South Carolina debate because it’s still early, the field is too unsettled and he’s not yet an announced candidate,” said Rhoades.
Romney has more name recognition than any of the likely 2012 contenders and has a great ability to raise money, so he certainly doesn’t need to be in South Carolina tomorrow night, but one has to wonder why he decided to skip the first debate after forming an exploratory committee. Considered by most the standalone front runner for the nomination, he faces a tough battle over the universal healthcare program that he implemented in Massachussettes that mirrors ObamaCare in may aspects. Perhaps the former Massachusetts governor has yet to come up with an adequate way to spin his position on this issue as he has with several others.