Should GOP candidates skip Donald Trump's debate?

Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman are boycotting the "circus-like" event. But frontrunner Newt Gingrich is in. What's the GOP to do?

Many candidates and commentators are horrified by the prospect of Donald Trump moderating a presidential debate, but Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, and Rick Santorum are already on board.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Donald Trump is scheduled to moderate a Dec. 27 Republican presidential debate hosted by Newsmax, but not all Republicans are on board. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said having the "reality television personality" as the moderator was undignified, and the libertarian has sworn that he'll sit out the "circus-like" debate. Jon Huntsman similarly declined, saying of Trump: "I'm not going to kiss his ring and I'm not going to kiss any other part of his anatomy." (Trump shot back that Paul and Hunstman are "joke candidates.") GOP über-strategist Karl Rove even asked the Republican National Committee to cancel the debate. But frontrunner Newt Gingrich is in, as is former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.). Must the show go on?

The GOP should cancel this embarrassment: The Trump debate is a demeaning sideshow, and Paul and Huntsman deserve credit for "declining to step into the clown car," says National Review in an editorial. It's not too late for Gingrich and Santorum to change their minds — and they should. Gingrich in particular "lowers himself" by participating in this ridiculous event. But if Gingrich and Co. don't opt out, we hope Mitt Romney braves the ire of "the pro-Trump rump of GOP voters by refusing" to make it a real debate.

"Trump's sideshow debate"

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Actually, a Donald debate will be refreshing: Trump's "bullish, brazen, no-nonsense reality TV style should make for fun viewing," and what's wrong with that? says Raakhee Mirchandani in the Boston Herald. Will the "impressively coiffed real estate mogul" find some way to make the debate about himself? Of course. But he's also promising to make his "pals" running for office tackle some "important but thus-far largely neglected issues."

"Why the Donald still matters in prez race"

Why not just make it a reality show? This "debate" is "one of the stupidest ideas in the history of presidential politics," says Roland Martin at CNN. If the RNC won't "quickly denounce this madness" and pull the plug, let's at least have Trump the "political chump" make it a real, "Survivor-style" showdown: "For every candidate that shows up to get quizzed by Trump, we would immediately vote them off the GOP presidential island."

"Donald Trump to moderate a GOP debate? Now that's a bad joke"

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