FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Mitt Romney is refusing to debate Newt Gingrich one-on-one in a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate.
Real Clear Politics reports that the conservative publications "Human Events" and "Red State" had locked down a date, December 19th, and a place for the debate.
They say Gingrich was rearing to go, but Romney turned down the offer.
It would seem potential Republican voters would welcome the opportunity to see the two top candidates answer tough questions face-to-face. Romney could benefit from the two-person format with his toughest opponent instead of the debate format where candidates who have virtually no chance of winning the nomination are included.
Plus it could be good practice for debates against Pres. Obama if Romney winds up being the nominee, which is appearing less likely each day.
So why won't Romney agree to debate Gingrich? Critics say he's "trying to run out the clock."
Gingrich will have a debate partner on the 19th after all. Jon Huntsman has accepted the invitation, while taking a swipe at Romney. Huntsman's campaign says the substantive format makes it hard for Romney to "hide from his record."
Romney could be making a big mistake by refusing to talk to the media, debate Gingrich, etc. The coronation he was counting on appears to be slipping away.
Gingrich now sits atop the national polls, as well as those in key early voting states. In Iowa, a new poll now shows Romney in third place, behind Gingrich and Ron Paul. In New Hampshire, another poll shows Gingrich has climbed nearly 20 points since October.
Meanwhile, there are reports that Herman Cain is getting ready to endorse Gingrich. If that happens, it's more bad news for Romney, who stands to lose more potential voters.
Here's my question to you: What does it say about Mitt Romney that he won't debate Newt Gingrich one-on-one?
Tune in to "The Situation Room" at 4 p.m. ET to see if Jack reads your answer on the air.
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