Romney Considering Taking a Pass on Future Debates
From Byron York in today's Washington Examiner:
After a debate in which Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney faced attacks from all sides, the Romney campaign says it has not yet accepted invitations to participate in two high-profile debates leading up to the January 31 Florida primary, and a key Romney adviser is expressing fatigue and frustration over what he sees as a never-ending series of GOP debates.
"There are too many of these," Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said after Monday night's Fox News debate at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center. "We have to bring some order to it. We haven't accepted Florida…It's kind of like a cruise that's gone on too long."
Big mistake. The prevailing sentiment amongst a big swath of the Republican electorate right now is that a Romney nomination, if it is to be inevitable, should at least be conditioned on a primary process rigorous enough to road test the candidate before he's sent into the general election. That was the rationale for Sarah Palin's quasi-endorsement of Gingrich yesterday, for Bill Kristol's call to let the primaries play out rather than rushing to a coronation (which you'll hear more about in the Ricochet podcast to be released later today), and perhaps even for Newt Gingrich's recent resurgence in national polls.
Translation: right now, there's a greater resistance to the imperious quality of Romney's inevitability argument than to Romney himself. Acting as if he's above the process will only exacerbate that tension. His people ought to realize that he's still one candidate amongst many. "Bringing some order" to the process isn't yet their prerogative.