Huckabee To Sit Out Early Debates

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Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 GOP Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee says he won’t join early Presidential debates scheduled for the spring. “I don’t want to get suckered into taking on the schedule because it’s what the media wants us to do,” Huckabee said Friday during a talk at The King’s College in New York. His comments were originally reported by the Christian Post

Politico and NBC have scheduled a debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in California for this spring and Fox News has partnered with the South Carolina GOP to plan a debate scheduled for May 5. “You want to schedule a debate for March or May, knock yourselves out,” Huckabee said. “If I’m not there, you can still have it. But I’m not going to be there.”

During his appearance at The King’s College, Mr. Huckabee told a student he won’t make an official announcement until “the latter part of the summer’ if at all.” “If I do choose to run, it’s not going to be until much, much later in the process,” he said. “You have to raise so much money to sustain the infrastructure of a campaign that lasts a year-and-a-half, versus one that might last six or seven months.”

Huckabee won the Iowa GOP presidential caucuses in 2008 and ran a spirited challenge to eventual nominee John McCain. Should he enter the 2012 field, he is expected to perform well again in Iowa where he has been polling very well. After grueling, and expensive presidential primaries in 2008, many of the top Republican candidates seem content to hold off on beginning a campaign this year. Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels have both said they won’t announce plans until their legislative sessions wrap up later this spring, and front-runners, like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, have been slow to tip their hats as well.

Huckabee holds a strong evangelical base, which could be diluted if candidates such as Sarah Palin, Mike Pence or Rick Santorum decide to announce a 2012 run. Those candidates also could see a huge bump in support if Huckabee decides to stay with his day job and pass on a 2012 campaign. There is still plenty of time to mount a successful campaign for the GOP nomination but in a field that is expected to be a large one, skipping the early debates could cost votes in the long run.

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Date for the First Unofficial 2012 GOP Presidential Debate Set in Iowa

Bookmark and Share March 7th, 2011——-mark that date in your calendars. It is currently one of the first unofficial Republican presidential debates and it will take place in the state where the first in the nation presidential contest takes place—–Iowa.

The Faith and Freedom Coalition is one of Iowas leading grassroots conservative organizations and it is headed up by Republican National Committee member Steve Scheffler and keeping in tradition, they have sent out invitations for a March 7th forum that would be the first of its kind for the developing field of Republican presidential contenders.

So far, the group has sent invitations to:

  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
  • Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels
  • Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich
  • Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee
  • Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin
  • Texas Rep. Ron Paul
  • Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
  • Indiana Rep. Mike Pence
  • Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum
  • South Dakota Sen. John Thune
  • South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint

But in addition to those 12, an invite is also expected to be sent to former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. Not making the cut would seem to be former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, a libertarian conservative who has been crisscrossing the country for a planned run for President for over a year now. Also not mentioned is the once often mentioned Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal who seems more and more unlikely to run in 2012.

The forum is probably not likely to receive acceptances to their invitations from the likes of Haley Barbour, Mitch Daniels, John Thune, and possibly even Mike Pence. People such as Daniels have made it clear that he will not make a decision about a run for President until late April, upon the end of his states legislative session. Attending the Iowa forum will not officially constitute a run for President and all the rules and restrictions that come with it, but it will go a long way in confirming each individuals intentions and some like Barbour may not want to tip their hands that early in 2011. But participation in the forum will help to confirm the intentions of those in attendance and could begin to help some candidates gain traction with the development of a strong base of support in the ever important Iowa Caucuses.

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