What does it say about Romney that he won't debate Gingrich one-on-one?
December 5th, 2011
12:23 PM ET

What does it say about Romney that he won't debate Gingrich one-on-one?

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.

And we'd love to know where you're writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich
soundoff (122 Responses)
  1. Larry -Denver

    Poor Mitt, two flip floppers, Mitt being the champion flipper cant go up against the challenge. It would help if he were more intelligent too, but that said, Newt vs Obama, another four years with the Dems. The Republicans need a white knight, and all they have are pawns.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  2. phil

    GOP cant play by the rules any more, its now just a photo shut and empty talk about nothing.
    These people scare me to death.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm |
  3. Tim Northrup

    What does it say about Mitt Romney? Only that he is the established norm incarnate. One-on-one debates before there are only two candidates left would upset Romney's establishment, died-in-the-wool, nominate-me-or-else, apple-cart. It will cost him the nomination, and Gingrich vs. Obama will be entertaining.

    Hays, KS

    December 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm |
  4. phil

    I cant beleave whats going on in this country, I wish people would look past the Bull being pumped out to them and use there heads a little. None of them should even be in office.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
  5. Lee

    It means that he knows that at the end of the day, he is still the de facto front runner, and so doesn't have to risk getting tripped up by Newt's faux-academic rhetoric. Newt is surely much more plausible than Herman Cain, but he still is yet another in a line of "anti-Romneys" before everyone finally holds their nose and votes for Romney, knowing that he is their only chance in the 2012 general election.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm |
  6. Katty Oregon

    It is still a bit early..I wouldn't debate him either at the present time. Save it for when it will be of greater importance to the electorate. The newsies are working over-time to selectively destroy the credibility of Rep candidates one at a time. Such bias is upsetting.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
  7. ruth creek

    Just shows that Romney is not stupid Fayetteville AR

    December 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm |
  8. Jayne in NH

    They're both so phoney, who really cares . . . although it would be a good opportunity for them to compare flipflops.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm |

    He is smart. At this point it searves no useful purpose. All he need do at this point is sit back and let him self destruct, as he will.
    Who in his right mind would sugest that poor people send their children to school and have them clean up vomit, clean toilets, mop floors , ect. so they learn a work etihic.
    If any one that, sure, you have a man with a plan. Sign up for that with a vote for the Newt, Just leave my children out of it.
    METALWORKER in Illinois

    December 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm |
  10. Ken in Victoria BC

    Well Jack, I would say that one on one debates are a very good idea. In Canada before our last election, there was a call for such debates. During the two actual debates, there was limited one on one debates that were well received. I guess the biggest problem for such in the USA is the number of persons involved. Fairness would be required.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:52 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    If you saw the Fox interview with Romney, and heard about the aftermath, that's all you'll ever need to know about him. And don't even get me started on Gingrich. Joan Walsh put it best a couple of weeks ago – "There aren't enough baths to make Newt Gingrich clean." What has happened to the Republican Party? Their candidates are a disgrace.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm |
  12. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    The tortoise would shear the hare! When Newt-ity finished clipping flip-Rommeny, Mitt would be on his knees
    begging for mercey!

    December 5, 2011 at 12:56 pm |
  13. Doug Ericson

    Why should Romney debate Newt one on one, when he can just sit back, and let the media, and the political hit folks on his side, rip Newt apart. Don't get your hopes up to high Ging-Dings. Batter up! Doug. Pepperell, MA.

    December 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  14. JOE

    Romney just needs to sit bacjk and wait. Newt's past will be exposed shortly and everyone will see him for the sleaze that he really is. A month from now the story will have changed and Newt will be a thing of past and Romney will be back on top,

    December 5, 2011 at 1:03 pm |
  15. Mel - Houston

    Like Harry Callahan said in the movie, "A good man always knows his limitations".

    December 5, 2011 at 1:05 pm |
  16. jen-seatttle

    Just another orchestrated and carefully crafted Opposition party monopolized by Koch Industries, cheating americans out of real :Leadership and real Advancement beyond Malt liqour drinking jobs and lifestyles.We are denied True Democracy with this 1 party charade sponsored by corporate america's backstab sellouts

    December 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  17. Mike Serpent from Florida

    It's tactics pure and simple, Jack. If the Romney campaign brain-trust felt that a one-on-one debate with Charlie Sheen would net him a boost in the ratings, he'd do it. Presidential campaigns are more akin to selling laundry detergent than it is in selecting the best candidate. And who is to blame? We are because we don't want the most qualified candidate, but rather someone who is slick, telegenic, absent human foibles, and willing to cater to our wildly unrealistic expectations, like more services and less taxes.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:11 pm |
  18. John Herling

    It says that Romney intends to avoid self-destruction, and expects Gingrich to fail to avoid it.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm |
  19. Ed from California

    It says nothing. Neither one of these two idiots, or any other Kochplican will beat Pres. Obama in the upcoming election. We want our jobs returned so that millions can get back to work. In my opinion, there will be a huge turnover in Congress. The Dem's will finally figure it out and lead w/power just like the Kochplicans do. Except, the American people will come out the winner, not just the select few.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
  20. Dan in Albuquerque

    Romney could keep out of the fray while all the others did the catfighting and name-calling. Now that Gingrich is the flavor of the month, Romney is better off not to get involved in a one-on-one. Gingrich is not credible at all on his policies, but he has bombastic, caustic style that can disconcert a person less given to that style., such as Romney. They are all overexposed to the point of nausea, anyhow, so one less debate would be welcome.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  21. Peter Aldergrove B.C.

    I think it would be stupid for any two candidates, no matter who, to have a one-on-one debate while there are still others in the race. The way this race has gone who knows where Newt and Mitt will be in the polls when the debate date came around

    December 5, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  22. Bob D Iowa

    Jack who cares about Mitt. What does it say that Jon Huntsman has the backbone to standup to the schoolyard bully. Mano/Mano

    December 5, 2011 at 1:27 pm |
  23. Herman Portland OR

    A good decision. How about he debates President Obama long with Newt Gindrich. They have been debating for months really don't see why we need a debate with many other candidates still in the running.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm |
  24. Ken in Seattle

    Nothing. While Romney has been out campaigning Gingrich has spent an inordinate amount of time cruising in the Mediterranean or selling books and movies. Gingrich is either unwilling or financially unable to campaign in the manner other candidates do so is hoping he can con someone into a one on one debate and get CNN or whomever to pay for airtime he would not have gotten otherwise. There have been an unbelievable number of debates already, with more to come, offering the candidates ample opportunities to convey their positions to the American people. Gingrich is a con man and while a one on one debate with Romney might feed his unbelievably massive ego it would do nothing to further an already exhausting process. Albeit one that has been very effective in separating the wheat from the chaff. Romney is likely too smart to be suckered into Gingrich's scheme.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:31 pm |
  25. John from Alabama

    Jack: Romney does not want to add fuel to Gingrich's fire. Newt is having a good 2 or 3 weeks at Herman Cain's expense. Mr. Gringrich is like a pit bull when it comes to debating, but let the pit bull just bark, and eventually the dog will fall asleep. Mr. Romney needs to regroup, and win in New Hampshire and South Carolina. Newt Gringrich, ego, will explode with his words, and his support will go down. Mr. Romney will be the candidate for the Republicans. But neither Romney nor Gingrich will beat President Obama.

    December 5, 2011 at 1:31 pm |

    Well, it could say that Romney has the good sense to know when NOT to step into a debate buzzsaw!

    December 5, 2011 at 1:35 pm |
  27. Gary H. Boyd

    Jack – Romney knows that Gingrich is a better debater than he is - it's as simple as that. Romney's background is primarily business whereas Gingrich's is politics and politicians are good debaters - it's rule number One. Just look at the guy now in the White House. He hasn't a clue but he's a magician at the podium.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    December 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm |
  28. Carol Colitti Levine

    It means Romney is counting on Newt imploding and he'll be the nominee by default.

    Florence, MA

    December 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  29. Ray Richardson

    Romney won't debate former Speaker Gingrich because Gingrich has the advantage of being more familiar with federal issues and, in many cases, having the additional knowledge that comes from having been on both sides of many of those issues.
    Ray from Indiana

    December 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm |
  30. Jk from Minnesota

    I don't know that is says that much, Jack. Honestly, one could get dizzy watching the 2 of them debate one on one – they'd cover all sides of an issue in record time, that's for sure!

    December 5, 2011 at 1:49 pm |
  31. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    Romney realizes that Newt's doubletalk and twisted logic is difficult to debate against. Newt speaks a langage Romeny doesn't understand; James Orwell's '1984' newspeak.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
  32. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    Like me, Romney probably doesn't want to hear Gingrich pontificate, telling everyone "Newt knows best. Trust Me." (Newt, I don't trust you one iota.)

    December 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  33. Rick McDaniel

    That says he knows who the best debater is.......and he wants no part of making it obvious, because that would influence voters who want the best debater possible, against Obama.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm |
  34. Richard Texas

    I wouldn't say never Jack. When it gets close and comes down to Gingrich and Romney he will have no choice but to debate him. Right now the republican attack plan is united and that plan is to go after Obama. When the election gets closer and it is time for the TKO to bring the other candidate to his knees Romney will be debating Gingrich. Bet on it.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  35. Ed from MD

    Two peas in a pod, what would they argue about?

    December 5, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  36. Nobama

    He doesnt need to. Mitt is busy campaigning and spending time with his family...he doesnt need to take more time to battle one person-there are plenty of other debates that Romney can show that he is best fit to be president. He has been an excellent debator (which helps him in the polls for sure).

    December 5, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
  37. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    It says that he does not take Newty seriously and thinks he is on a book tour that turned into a campaign. It also means that Mitt knows that Newt will make him say too many things to pander to conservatives that might alienate the moderate voters that nobody talks about that will never vote for Newt, but will vote for Mitt in the primary (the same ones that put McCain over the top). Mitt is not wrong.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  38. Lori - PA


    It tells me that Romney is afraid to debate Gringrich. And if Romney is afraid to debate Gringrich, what else will he be afriad to do? Right now, this country needs strong leadership. Someone who isn't afraid to make decisions, no matter how tough. And if Romney is, in fact, afraid to debate Gringrich, then maybe he's the wrong person to run as the Republican nominee (not that Gringrich is the right person either).

    December 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
  39. Pat in Michigan

    It is a givin that Newt Gingrich is a extreemly good debator .I think Romney is wary of his prowiss and unwilling to expose his Achiles heal.It can only hurt him.
    To me it says Romney may look good but not be up to facing a skilled opponent. Our enemys are skilled opponents as well.Is he not up to that either?

    December 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm |
  40. Brad, Portland, OR

    Given what we've all seen in the debates thus far, maybe he realizes there isn't much point in exchanging factually-inaccurate attacks on each other that Politifact will just rate as "Pants on Fire" afterwards.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  41. Paul From Austin Texas

    It says Romney is unable to face someone that flip flops as much as he has and proves Gingrich is the king of flip flop. As we all have seen on Fox and CNN Romney it appears will not get involed with unexpected uncontroled questions something he can not do in a one on one debate with anyone.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  42. Steve

    That he's also scared to debate Obama one on one. I'm seeing Tom Dewey more and more.


    December 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  43. MNResident

    It says he would rather let the media and and his fellow "Republicans" destroy the Republican field by character destruction than debate the actual issues like unemployment, inflation, and ObamaCare/RomneyCare.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
  44. Harold

    I wouldn't watch if he did. The only Republican candidate that seems credible to me is Jon Huntsman, and he is being studiously ignored.

    Bracebridge, Ontario

    December 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
  45. kim smith, Dodge City, Ks.

    I don't blame Romney one bit. Newt is the poster child for all that is wrong in politics and government, and it would be far beneath Mr. Romney to step down into the gutter to debate him. Mitt should maintain the high road and avoid Gingrich like the plague, and refuse to be sucked into his negative orbit. It would be alot like guilt by association.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  46. Patrick- North Attleboro, MA

    It shows that he wants to keep running from his record and knows it would never hold up in a head-to-head debate. Hats off to Jon Huntsman for agreeing to debate Newt

    December 5, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  47. mycroft lake travis texas

    They are planning to team up !

    December 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
  48. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    It says that Romney is too smart not to do know when he is being set up. He knows when you fool with a rattlesnake you have a good chance of getting bit.

    December 5, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  49. James in Springfield, VA

    It does not say a thing to me. It just shows that Romney is smart enough to stay away from Newt because he is a worthless candidate.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  50. J

    Wait. Didn't the most recent poll of republican voters say Romney has a 40% chance of beating Obama versus Gingrich's 21% What does that say about them?

    December 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  51. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    If Mitt won't debate Newt 1:1, which happens to be Gingrich's strong suit, it says that the GOP may have a candidate who actually shows wisdom. Never try to beat a man at his own game is how the saying goes, so if Romney chooses not to debate, It's gutsy, wise and might just show that Romney has what it takes to be a thoughtful presidential candidate who knows when to fight and when to let sleeping dogs lie.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  52. Sylvia from San Diego

    It says that he knows his limits... Quite frankly, I do not think that there is a candidate including Obama who can win a debate against Newt Gingrich. Newt is amazing smart and quick witted!!

    December 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  53. Bill of New Mexico

    Perhaps, Romney is afraid to debate Gingrich.

    Maybe, Romney thinks excluding the other Republican candidates is unfair:

    unfair to the American supporters of the other Republican candidates.

    unfair to the other Republican candidates.

    unfair for the nominating process.

    I am more angry at Gingrich for suggesting it, than I am at Romney for turning Gingrich down.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  54. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Jack,it says what people and the media can not say in public because we have to nicey ALL the time.The voters do not want him have never wanted him and they will do anything not to have him.Sorry but that is the truth Jack and he can not beat Obama nor debate him and the people know that.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  55. Frances

    Romney shouldn't debate Gingrich. Gingrich is a mean ethics challenged ex Speaker of the House. He was thrown out by his own Republican Party. He shouldn't lower himself to that level. Although Romney has his own set of problems, he is not cruel.

    Newt, "The Grinch who stole Childhood"


    December 5, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  56. Ann from Charleston SC

    I think it means that Romney knows that Gingrich would make mincemeat out of him in a one on one debate.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
  57. Renee Peoria,Ill

    I think his critics are right about running out the clock. Romney stands a better chance in a general election than most of the candidates on the right, but he's struggling with extremists in his own party. The real question? What does it say about the GOP that they're more determined to run with a candidate who can win their own primary but will have less chance of winning the general election?

    December 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  58. Charles - San Antonio

    I believe it is a good move on Romney's part. To win republican votes in a debate with Gingrich, Romney would be forced to move too far to the right. This would not appeal to independants or disgrunteled democrats in the general election. However, refusing to debate Gingrich will hurt Romney but not as much as actually debating Gingrich. It's all a political calculation.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  59. andyz Lynn, MA

    If Mitt debates the Newtster then he lends credence to Newton's candidacy. If he avoids Newt, he denies that Newton is a serious candidate. Hopefully, Newt will do a Cain and disappear. I remember what Newt did to America's poor, elderly, and ill under the guise of his Contract with America. God save us all from a Gingrich presidency.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  60. Pete in Georgia

    No candidate Republican or Democrat will EVER agree to debate Gingrich one on one. Why ?
    Because they know Newt would chew them up and spit them out.
    Gingrich knows America and understands what it takes to make it great. LACK OF GOVERNMENT.
    As we have evolved thru the decades since the early 1900's all national political candidates don't have the nerve to speak the truth on this Truth because of the tremendous influx of immigrants and minorities who look to government for everything free and easy they can latch onto. And...................Washington DC has responded...................Big Time.
    Welcome to America. Land of the Free.
    Free everything.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
  61. Mike in Newmarket NH

    The easy answer is that he is afraid that Gingrich will make him look even weaker than he is. But the real problem is that Gingrich is embracing Trump and still looks stronger than Romney.

    The real alternative to Romney is is a well spoken and highly qualified candidate, in this case it's Jon Huntsman consistently conservative, proven resume, no embarrassing skeletons in his closet and reader to lead.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  62. William

    So far Mitt Romney has run his campaign out of the spotlight and his strategy seems to be to let his opponents shoot up and then implode. Think about it, Bachmann is polling in the high twenties until people found out she knew nothing of American History, Perry was polling strong until we found out his record on job creation in Texas wasn't what he said it was, he was more liberal on immigration than his opponents (except maybe Gingrich), and... I can't remember the third thing...oops. And the of course all of Herman Cain's dirty laundry coming out.
    With Gingrich on the other hand we already know all of his dirty secrets and he will not have an oops moment on stage and he knows where the battles of Lexington and Concord were fought. If Romney takes on Gingrich in a one on one debate Newt will eat him alive.

    December 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  63. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    These two bozo's are opposites,Newt might be a good depator but his morals are worse than Herman Cain's, Romney is no debator but has better morals than Newt . Romney is not smart enough to be President but has a better personality than Newt. Newt is smart enough but has the personality of a wart hog.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  64. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    He probably realizes that nobody really cares.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  65. Jerry from Johns Creek, GA

    There is too much value placed on debates and Romney knows this. We have a great debater in the White House now and what good has come of it? Besides Romeny is concerned about Gingrich's health. Newt is so over full of himself that if he gets any increase in his ego he will explode.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  66. Ed Magana

    It's truly sad that we are electing our presidents much as we vote to select winners on "Dancing with the Stars". The ability to debate should not trump the character and track record of any candidate. Newt stands out because he is surrounded by seriously flawed opponents. Mitt is unsure of where he stands on issues, Cain (who is gone, thankfully) had no clue which end of the pen to write with, Ron Paul is engaging in his traditional comedy routine, Rick Santorum has no connection whatsoever with any potential voters, Nobody is listening to Statesman Huntsman, Rick Perry is still trying to remember what day of the week it is, and Michelle Bachman is graciously awaiting another epiphany on what to do next. It all leaves Newt, a seasoned Washington insider crook, looking like a saint. It's not that he is that good, it's that his opponents are terribly lacking in presidential gravitas.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  67. Ed Reed

    It says I'll be spared listening to one guy who's quadrupling his $12 million house in California debate another guy who has a half million dollar credit line at Tiffany's.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  68. Paul - North Carolina

    It says that Willard is becoming the Harold Stassen of the Republican party; a perpetual candidate. He has structured his campaign very carefully to limit any exposure to risk. He only makes appearances in politcally secure locations, limits his exposure to the media and responds to debate questions with canned answers even if they are only tangentially related to the subject. A one-on-one with Newt would be a wild and wooly affair where the automotronic Romney would look like a fish out of water. A Gingrich-Huntsman debate is a far, far better idea. It will give the Republican base a real contrast between their core ideology and reality. If the next president must be a Republican, please let it be Huntsman.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  69. Jim


    It says Mitt knows better than to pick a fight he can't win. Much better to just let the Gingrich of the past debate the Gingrich of the present and watch them both lose.

    Reno, Nevada

    December 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  70. Curtis in Philadelphia

    Jack, with the number of times Romney and Gingrich have both flip-flopped on issues, iif these two debated, t would be like channel surfing between Fox Noise and MSNBC on a merry-go-round and they audience would throw-up.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  71. Rex in Portland, OR

    Gotta go aout there and fight fight fight – to quote a famouse pundit. Romney will not, so he is chicken. Chicken chicken chicken, chicken chii..... ahhhhhh who cares?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  72. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    I'm just surprised that Newt Gingrich is even doing so well, considering he's named after an amphibian...and Romney is being too shy about facing him in a one-on-one debate. If he can't face up to Gingrich, then what chance does he have against...Ron Paul....or John Huntsman....or Barack Obama?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
  73. Dennis north carolina

    he does not want to give air time to some one who could show him up at least at this time.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  74. Benjamin In Wisconsin

    Romney not agreeing to a debate simply means that his corporate handlers (or donors as he calls them) have not signed off on the idea yet.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  75. Drew Lincoln, IL

    Hey Jack! One thing people don't know about Lincoln is that in his young age he was quite the wrestler. He would denounce his counterparts with words and take them to the ground. Romney is saving himself from a conservative scold and TKO!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  76. Don Wilson

    Jack .. says Mitt is SMART to stay away from the MEDIA. The media focuses ONLY on the downfalls of a candidate, not the attributes of the candidate. The media lives for the "Jerry Springer" theme when reporting, because scandal sells ads. But the fact is, we need to really get to business, not these silly missed words and girlfriends. Why not report the POSITIVE THINGS about each candidate? This is a sad world we live in.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  77. Joyce Grissom, Marshall, TX

    Romeny doesn't want to get NEWTERD if he puts his hands on Newt as he tries to make his point.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  78. Allen

    It means Mit is not on Speaking terms with Newt and neither am I!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  79. Tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    It says he believes Newt's history will destroy him without any assistance from anyone else. He is going to let public scrutiny do to Newt what it did to bachmann, Perry, and Cain.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  80. Diane Whipple

    He's not ready yet. He needs a couple of sessions with his facts specialists to catch up with Gingrich. He's afraid he'd be beaten too badly, or he'd already jump right into the ring. This doesn't look good!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  81. Jan K. in Asotin,Wa.

    Empty suits can't talk.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  82. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    It shows the same losing calculation as he has had in changing his positions over and over.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  83. Brittany

    Romney is just as scared as every other Republican candidate to answer the tough questions. That's why he won't get more than 25% likability for the candidacy. Also, it's possible that the answers he exclaims could hurt his reputation even more.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  84. Name*Elizabeth Collins Ph.D

    What does it say? It says that he is unable to defend himself against his own record. Keeping track of him is like watching a tennis match: back and forth!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
  85. Brandon - Iowa

    Romney is tired of trying to defend changes in his position. He is not conservative enough for the electorate and the Speaker would overshadow him in a one-on-one discussion. People continue to turn away because every time they learn more about him they like him less. At least President Obama sticks to one side of the issues.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  86. Craig Chilton of Evansdale, Iowa

    Can you spell C-O-W-A-R-D?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
  87. 2-Ray

    Romney is too uptight and not able to connect to voters, so he will not debate Newt...

    December 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  88. Tina Tx

    King Mitt better watch out cause the Court Jester Newt can knock him off his perch.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  89. Nick, Arlington, VA

    It says that Mitt Romney doesn't want to spend more time in the same room with a hypocrite than he has to. He'll have plenty of time to debate against another hypocrite, Pres. Obama. All of these debates are getting excessive anyway. The GOP is making a big mistake if they pick Spkr. Gingrich because he doesn't have a real chance against Pres. Obama. Gov. Romney, on the other hand, can win the presidency. He's the only one in the GOP who is reasonable - maybe that is the real problem.

    Nick, Arlington, VA

    December 5, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  90. Cee.La

    Soo Frick wont debate Frack, what a shame....wont bother me though, because the ONLY candidate I would vote for is Huntsman....... and he makes too much sense to get the GOP nomination.........

    December 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  91. christian

    He wont debate him because it would just be playing newt's game to get free advertising who is trying to win by getting national recognition. Mitt on the other hand is playing a state by state game more so and counting on solid showings to hand him the nomination. Plus a debate between the two of them would just be an attack on each others flip-flops and bring them both down and make way for someone else to come out looking clean in the end.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  92. Cyrus

    Mitt Romney is now just realizing he might not win the nomination and that is hurting. He knows his policies are all empty and his only chance of winning the nomination is staying away from humiliation.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  93. PiedType

    Romney has been very careful to protect his initial lead in the polls. Not speaking also ties in nicely with a need to not address his flip-flopping on the issues. However, it's been obvious for a while now that the tactic is no longer working. His failure to respond is either incredible arrogance on his part or flat out fear that anything he says or does will work against him. Arrogance or fear. Either way, it's obvious the voters don't like what they're seeing.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  94. Joe. Garden City, NY

    A one on one debate could highlight the differences between Mitt and Newt. Romney comes off as too polished, too practiced, too politician. Newt does not have every hair where it belongs, seems to speak from the gut and is not afraid to really answer a question, even if you might not like the answer. I don't think Romney wants America to see this contrast in aone on one format.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  95. Name*Elizabeth Collins Ph.D

    What does it say? It says that in such a context, he is unable to defend himself against his own record. Keeping track of him is like watching a tennis match: back and forth!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  96. Sherman

    It says a "Flip-Flopper" doesn't want to share the stage with "Hipo-Crit".

    December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  97. Conner Ingram

    Romney is clearly hoping for Newt to implode. They have nothing to gain from this style of debate, as either Newt or the now much-improved Huntsman could use this forum to hit Romney on the issues which the Brett Baier interview made painfully obvious. Newt can clearly out maneuver the Governor rhetorically, and Huntsman could hit him on conservative substance which Romney is clearly lacking. It will be interesting to see if Huntsman can do to the Speaker, what the Speaker is obviously hoping to do to Romney. Regardless, it is a sad fact that the nominating process has become more akin to a reality TV show than a rational selection process.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  98. Susan

    If the largest voting block are seniors, Newt doesn't have a prayer of winning because seniors remember the disaster when he was Speaker. And another voting block, women, aren't going to forget that he was an adulterer when his wife was suffering from cancer and his present wife obviously is of the 1% with her Tiffany jewels. Mitt Romney may be laying low, but Gingrich is about as low as one can go!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
  99. Dan

    Great question, Please ask him if you can get Mitt on a CNN interview.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  100. Chris (Long Beach, CA)

    I think Romney is making a mistake I don't believe debating Newt would hurt him; it might even help him. A Gingrich/Romney debate would allow the country to draw important distinctions between their platforms and their philosophies. Very good analysis on CNN today, Cafferty!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  101. John Martin

    It means Romney is waiting for you talking heads in the media to torpedo Gingrich's campaign by talking about his sex life., just like you sank Cain's campaign. Romney simply doesn't think he should waste his time debating a guy who tried to impeach Clinton for cheating on his wife, while Newt was cheating on his wife. Valid idea on Romney's part. But he is still miscalculating. Either the media will save Newt's sex life for the general election or they will shoot down Gingrich now and Perry will come out of this smelling like a rose. Either way, Romney loses.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  102. Christian Jones

    Hi Jack. I'll bet you by tomorrow Mitt Romney will be willing to debate Newt Gingrich. (Get it because he's a flip-flopper). LSU! LSU! LSU!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  103. George

    While at first glance, we may want to describe Romney as cowardly for refusing to debate Gingrich one-on-one, this has been a strategy that has worked for Mitt throughout this campaign already. Bachmann, Perry, and Cain have all had big rises and falls; and perhaps Romney has no reason to believe Ginrich's polling spike will be any different. With still a few debates to go until the figrst caucus (and Romney has been remarkably consistant in them), and just under 11 months until the election, Romney still seems to be playing this campaign (and probably rightly so) as an endurance race...

    Thanks Jack.
    -George from Stamford, CT

    December 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm |
  104. Will from south dakota

    It says that there is no possible way that Romney can defend his record. He doesn't have a record. He's been on both sides of every issue at least once. Also thanks for pointing out that Huntsman is willing to debate Gingrich. You should have also pointed out that Huntsman declined participating in Trump's circus saying that there was no way he would kiss his ring or any other part of his anatomy. Way to go Huntsman!!!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  105. DeDe of Connecticut

    I can't believe my ears. One minute I hear Mitt Romney is the only Repulican that can win against Obama. I hear Romney needs to tell us about his family. He is interviewed in Parade magazine by David Gergen with access to 18 photos from childhood and wedding day to his highschool sweetheart Ann and his children and grandchildren. on computer .Mitt does not want to stoop to the level of Newt by debating. him. Let's interview Newt for Parade magazine, and then compare Newt with Mitt .No comparison.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  106. sheree

    It tells me that Mitt is running his campain with class and dignity. I would think less of him for stooping to Newt's level. I pay no attention to polls especially to those from Iowa, if they want a president with loose morals, kicked out of a position from his own party, thick as thieves with Washington, then they deserve what they get!

    December 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  107. Larry in Texas

    All Romney has to do is call Nancy Pelosi – She can tell Romney all the "Dirt" she has on Gingrich. If I was Romney – I would welcome a Debate – whatever type of Debate it is – Romney could crush him – hands down, in my opinion. Gingrich is worthless, period. Can you imagine Gingrich as President of the U.S. ?? If I were bringing up kids ( Thank God I'm done with that) (since I'm 56 yrs old) I would tell them take a good hard look who we can look up to, ( if Gingrich was our Pres) ""Now you kids can marry who ever you want, get a divorce however many times you want, rob / steal ( fanny may) lie / cheat / rob banks"" & the list goes on.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
  108. Mitoosense Fort Lauderdale, Florida

    The Republican Primary will likely be won by the tallest Midget. Republicans continue to reject Romney as the wheel of support spins to the next in line to be formally rejected. Romney keeps hangin around like a party crasher. Sarah Palin said she'd run if nobody else stepped forward. Looks more like Palin in 2012 to me.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
  109. Sandstone.

    "The trap of broadcasting, is the reason. The Grinch is used to chit-chat on the air-waves, but that's about all he has offer; a fast-tongue with really little dialoge in it. Fast tongue's, are the most liable for makeing bigger mistakes in the long run. I think my guy can wait a few more months, don't you?"

    December 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  110. PiedType

    Romney has been very careful to protect his initial lead in the polls. Not speaking also ties in nicely with a need to not address his flip-flopping on the issues. However, it's been obvious for a while now that the tactic is no longer working. His failure to respond is either incredible arrogance on his part or flat out fear that anything he says or does will work against him. Arrogance or fear. Either way, it's obvious the voters are starting to look elsewhere.


    December 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  111. Rick, Annapolis

    For one thing, it wouldn't be a one on one debate. They've both flip-flopped so much that there would need to be four in the debate – two of each. If they haven't already gone crazy from listening to this crop of morons, the tea pottiers would be driven over the edge trying to sort this spectacle out. Myself, I'm holding out for the Trump circus on the 27th. It will be the first and only one I will have watched, but it's gonna be must-see TV.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  112. ma in phoenix az

    Would you want to be in a closed room with Gingrich as he sucked up all of the oxygen in order to hear himself speak? I wouldn't. I think Romney is doing the right thing. Giving time to Gingrich just encourages him and the media in trying to make some noise to fill up time on TV.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  113. Paul (West VIrginia)

    I suspect it means he fears he will be chastised and humiliated for his track record and policy positions. I don't think Romney belongs in the Republican or Democratic Party. I am not sure HE even knows where he belongs in the political spectrum. I suspect he has calculated that he has a better chance of getting elected as a Republican. So with the political winds does Romney blow.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  114. John O - Naples FL

    Mitt won't go head to head with Gingrich becuase he knows it would be like trying to have a rational discussion with a slick-tongued, snake-oil salesman who will say anything that will suit his audience which is made up of those dumb enough to listen.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  115. Will from south dakota

    Bottom line is this. Anybody other than Huntsman and I am voting for Obama

    December 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  116. Pete/Ark

    Means about as much as Abbot not debating Costello.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  117. Larry Liebzeit

    Plain and undecorated, a Lincoln-Douglas debate format is not in Romney’s best interest. Gingrich would have too many opportunities to assess and break-down Romney’s progressive past. Romney then loses the moderate and slightly center-left wing factions of the party.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  118. Jerry in Alaska

    Why should Romney debate Gingrich at this time?

    Gingrich ain't the Chosen One for the GOP yet, & as a betting man i would say that neither one will ever make it to the 2012 election, as there is never gonna be an election.

    OBAMANATION OF DESOLATION is the Last Prez. we will ever have as a FREE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Period.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  119. marybeth, massachusetts


    Neither one of them has a lock on the nomination yet, and who knows how the voters will decide in the early primary (like New Hampshire and South Carolina) and caucasus (like Iowa) states. Right now it would be a battle between two flip-floppers for the grand title of master of all flip-floppers. I'm surprised that Gingrich wants to debate Romney because he can be tarred with the same brush. But the difference is that Gingrich can appeal to the religious conservatives, and Romney can't.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  120. Jeff In Minnesota

    That he is smart as a fox? Let's face it, Newt is a legend in his own mind and so is Mitt. You have to be to even try to be elected President. They both come off as too arrogant and seem to believe all of their own press. As a result, they have no human factor for the electorate to relate to except for the ultra right wing reactionaires they are courting to get through the primaries and win the Republican nomination. It is true what they say, history does repeat itself. It's 1964 and Barry Goldwater all over again?

    December 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  121. Pete from Florida

    Gingrich is an arrogant no-integrity joke. If I was Romney, I wouldn't lower myself by debating Newt either. No need to debate him, really – he'll self-destruct as America learns more about him.

    December 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  122. Gigi Oregon

    What ever happens between now and decision day...is of no value. Save his best shots until the finale debate. If we are truly tired of immoral values, dishonest business practices etc., Gingrich is not going to win...

    December 5, 2011 at 4:55 pm |