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Final Republican debate canceled after Romney, Santorum drop out
Question of the Day
Organizers on Thursday canceled the final debate of the Republican presidential campaign season, slated for Monday, after two of the GOP’s four candidates declined to participate.
The affair, which was sponsored by The Washington Times, Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Republican Party, was to have taken place on Monday in Portland — and would have been the 21st debate of the primary.
“They just said, ‘Look, the strategy now has to be a state-by-state ground game,’ ” Mr. Alley said.
Monday’s debate was to be staged two days after Missouri held its caucuses, a day after Puerto Rico held its primary, and just a day before Illinois Republicans are scheduled to go to the polls.
Organizers offered to change the date to Wednesday or to move the affair to Illinois, but the candidates said they couldn’t fit debate preparation into their schedules amid all the votes.
Mr. Romney needs to win 48 percent of all delegates going forward to head off a contested nominating convention in Tampa this summer, and Mr. Alley said it’s becoming harder for the former Massachusetts governor to get to that point.
Three debates had been scheduled for March but all of them have now been canceled. The last GOP debate was in Arizona on Feb. 22.
The debates have proven a major part of the 2012 primary story, giving some lesser-known candidates exposure while at the same time exposing weaknesses — particularly on the part of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who entered the race last summer and shot to the top of the polls, but stumbled in the early debates and never recovered.
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