Ion Television and Newsmax are bringing a pre-Iowa caucus debate to citizens of the US on 12/27/11, and it will be moderated by Donald Trump. But Republican political operative Karl Rove is blasting the event, and two candidates are said to have declined invitations to participate.
The debate comes exactly one week before the Iowa caucuses, scheduled for 1/3/12. Iowa represents the first stop on the 2012 presidential calendar.
According to a TPM2012 report, Rove is highly critical of the entire set-up. He said that the promise of a Trump endorsement completely undermines his role as moderator. Rove is further annoyed because Trump has not yet entirely ruled out the possibility of running as an independent in 2012.
He is calling for intervention from the Republican National Committee.
According to TPM, Ron Paul and John Huntsman will not attend the event. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are in, and so far there have been no announcements from Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry.
RBR-TVBR observation: We joked about a candidate inadvertently getting fired; but if Rove is right and Trump is going to be handing out an endorsement, in effect all the others are getting fired. All in all, it is to say the least an unusual debate scenario.