The candidates have basically nixed the last debate of the primary season, scheduled for this Monday in Portland, Oregon. Erick Erickson sees a missed opportunity for Mitt in the wake of his weak performance in Alabama and Mississippi:
The Romney camp signaled it was tired of the debates. But in the Florida debates the Romney camp largely destroyed Gingrich before winning Florida. In the Mesa, AZ debate on CNN the Romney camp ruined Rick Santorum before winning Arizona and barely Michigan. Both times the Romney campaign used good debate performances to rebound lagging poll numbers into real momentum. Then he decided to stop debating. Out of sight and out of mind, conservatives forgot why they thought he was the guy who could beat Obama.
Mixed feelings here, of course. But it's bizarre to have had a primary process driven, shaped and clarified by debates for so long to suddenly abandon them altogether. That's especially true given what Erickson says above and also true because one of the candidates has as his core argument (however ludicrous) that he would be a better debater than Obama.