- - Monday, March 12, 2012

The Mitt Romney campaign announced Monday that the former Massachusetts governor has decided not to participate in the planned Republican presidential debate scheduled for newt week, on March 19 in Portland, Ore.

According to the Oregonian newspaper, the front-runner’s decision could lead to the cancellation of the debate, which is to be co-sponsored by The Washington Times.

“Governor Romney will not be participating since he will be in Illinois for its March 20 primary,” spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. “We look forward to campaigning in Oregon before the May 15 primary.”

According to the Oregonian, Oregon Republican Chairman Allen Alley said last week that it was possible sponsors would try to proceed just with the other three remaining GOP presidential candidates.

The other sponsors of the debate, which was to be nationally televised, are the Oregon Republican Party and Oregon Public Broadcasting.

“We have to review this development with our partners before making any comment,” said Greg Leo, chief of staff of the Oregon Republican Party told the Oregonian.

The Republican candidates have participated in 20 debates, but since a Feb. 22 faceoff in Arizona, a CNN-sponsored debate in Georgia and a Politico-sponsored debate in California have been scratched.

NEW JERSEY

Christie doesn’t regret calling man an ‘idiot’

BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP, N.J. — New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said he has no regrets about calling a former Navy SEAL an “idiot” during a shouting match at a recent public event.

Mr. Christie’s comment capped off two minutes of increasingly heated back-and-forth with 34-year-old William Brown at a town-hall-style event in Burlington County on Thursday.

“He acted like an idiot. He’s an idiot. I don’t have any regret about it at all,” Mr. Christie said Monday during a press conference after touring a regional high school and meeting with students in a financial literacy class.

Mr. Brown, a former Democratic candidate for state Assembly, challenged the Republican governor’s plan to merge two public universities, Rutgers and Rowan. He is a law student at the Rutgers-Camden campus who opposes the merger.

Thursday’s exchange ended with Mr. Christie berating the Mount Laurel man, who had interrupted the governor several times before being escorted from the event. The governor said: “Let me tell you something, after you graduate from law school, you conduct yourself like that in a courtroom, your rear end’s going to be thrown in jail, idiot.”

“I allowed him to talk for two, two-and-a-half minutes to lay out his position. I sat there and tried to answer. Every time I tried to answer, he yelled and started to interrupt. He did it four different times,” Mr. Christie said Monday. “If you want to get into with me, I’m happy to get into it with you. But if you give it, you’re going to get it back.”

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