Tags: Rick Perry | | perry | no | trump | debate

Rick Perry Says No to Trump Debate

Thursday, 08 Dec 2011 02:53 PM

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry declined Thursday to participate in The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate moderated by real estate magnate Donald Trump scheduled Dec. 27 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Perry's campaign said in a statement the Texas governor wants to focus on the Iowa caucuses.

"Governor Perry has talked to Donald Trump in recent days and respects him and the folks at Newsmax very much. There are two debates in the next seven days.

"Traditional retail campaigning in the days and weeks leading up to the Iowa caucus is the Perry campaign's top priority. In the coming weeks, Gov. Perry will be in Iowa almost continually, meeting with real voters, doing town hall meetings and events and talking American jobs, faith and overhauling Washington, D.C., to Iowa voters."

Note: Sign Up to RSVP to Join Donald Trump for The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate — Click Here Now!

GOP front-runner Newt Gingrich and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum have agreed to participate in the debate. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney declined earlier in the week without giving specific reasons. Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have declined, and Michele Bachmann said this morning she is still thinking about participating.

However, several major conservative groups and leaders have endorsed the debate vocally throughout the week, including:
  • Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
  • Sean Hannity of Fox News
  • Former Alaska Gov. and 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin
  • Ralph Reed, Faith and Freedom Coalition
  • Tea Party Express
  • Political analyst and columnist Dick Morris
  • Jeffrey Lord, former Reagan aide
  • Al Cardenas, American Conservative Union
  • Iowa Rep. Steve King
  • The Institute for Liberty.
The Tea Party Express joined as a sponsor Thursday and urged Republican candidates to participate.

“We are proud to join with Newsmax and other conservative organizations as a sponsor of this debate,” Tea Party Express Chairwoman Amy Kremer said. Kremer described Newsmax as “an indispensable part of the conservative media that keeps voters informed of the critical issues facing America.”

Gingrich has endorsed the debate enthusiastically, adding that there was little reason for other candidates not to join him.

“We have to be open to new ways of doing things and new ways of approaching things,” Gingrich said Monday during a New York City visit to meet with Trump.

Gingrich then praised Trump and Newsmax, adding, “I thought it was great when [Donald Trump] agreed to do it. I think it’s great that Newsmax is helping launch it. It’s part of the process by which America governs itself."

Likewise, Palin urged Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday to take part in the debate, saying: "I think candidates should not be afraid in front of the nation no matter who the host of the debate is,” Palin said. “What is a bit appealing about this idea of Trump hosting a debate is, consider the diverse audience that perhaps he can attract. It's important that independents and those who are not obsessed with inside-baseball partisan politics, which is most of us, we'd like to hear more of the message of each one of these candidates and perhaps Donald Trump will be able to attract a diverse demographic that maybe has not been as interested in this horse race thus far."

And Reed's pro-family  Faith and Freedom Coalition, one of the nation’s most influential evangelical organizations, strongly endorsed the Trump-moderated debate. The group posted Reed's statement on its website:

“Newsmax is an outstanding news organization and I’m confident its GOP presidential candidate debate in Iowa broadcast on ION will be fair, balanced, professionally conducted and informative. I encourage members of Faith and Freedom Coalition in Iowa to attend. When it comes to opportunities for voters to hear directly from the candidates, I believe more is better. I’ll be watching on December 27.”

Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, wrote a column questioning why mostly liberal-leaning news outlets have "framed" the conversation between Republican candidates and Republican voters in previous debates, and threw his support behind Trump and Newsmax' efforts.

And Morris, a conservative author and Fox News analyst, went so far as to call Romney "foolish" for skipping the debate and urged all major candidates to join in.

Note: Sign Up to RSVP to Join Donald Trump for The Newsmax ION Television 2012 Presidential Debate — Click Here Now!

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