GOP Candidates Backing Out of St. Petersburg Debate
Just when you thought that presidential candidates would start paying attention to Florida voters (and not just bundlers) prior to July 2008...
Yes, the leading Republican candidates for president don't like the YouTube debate format that worked remarkably well for the Democrats on July 23rd - the debate that is scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg on September 17.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani says that "unspecified scheduling conflicts" are likely to prevent him from attending, but no one actually believes that in seven weeks, he couldn't find a way to juggle his schedule to get free, national televeision in primetime.
Former Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney is also hinting that he will back out of the debate.
Romney is at least honest that he doesn't like the format.
"I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman," he told the Manchester Union Leader.
So why don't Giuliani and Romney want to attend. Simple, the questions from ordinary (though YouTube proficient) Americans are likely to be more pointed than those from reporters - particularly on social issues where both candidates feel weak (in terms of their relationship to the very conservative electorate who will choose the GOP nominee).
Apparently the opportunity to appear in a large media market one of Florida's most important swing regions isn't enough of an incentive to for them to show up.