Will Romney Bail On The Debates?

Andrew Sullivan —  Jan 18 2012 @ 10:55am

Byron York sees signs that he's thinking about it:

[T]he Romney campaign says it has not yet accepted invitations to participate in two high-profile debates leading up to the January 31 Florida primary, and a key Romney adviser is expressing fatigue and frustration over what he sees as a never-ending series of GOP debates. "There are too many of these," Romney strategist Stuart Stevens said after Monday night's Fox News debate at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.  "We have to bring some order to it.  We haven't accepted Florida…It's kind of like a cruise that's gone on too long."

Ed Morrissey doesn't think Romney has a choice: 

Given the news this week, I’m not sure a “cruise” analogy is a good choice.  …. He might not like getting beat up on stage, but at least he’s there to defend himself.  The media will cover the debates whether Romney is there or not, so the only way he could successfully shut down the debates is if he gets the other Republican candidates to also withdraw. They’re practically on life support as it is, so they are certainly not going to pass up an opportunity for national and state-wide coverage in Florida for free. If they show up, Romney has to participate as well, if for no other reason than to keep playing defense and push back a little himself.

Jim Geraghty adds

The part of me that would like my evenings back is okay with the concept of debate season coming to an end. The part of me that hates seeing the likely 2012 Republican nominee back down from anything is not okay with the appearance that Mitt Romney has had enough of this.