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The CNN GOP debate originally scheduled for March 1, 2012 has been canceled due to decisions by Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul to skip the debate in favor of Super Tuesday campaigning. This left only Newt Gingrich who had previously committed to the March 1 debate and the former Speaker wasted no time blasting his rivals as “chickens.”

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Report from CBS News:

Newt Gingrich had a message for rivals Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney at a campaign event in his native Georgia Friday: bawk bawk bawwwk.

After two people dressed in chicken suits entertained the crowd, holding a sign reading “I’m Chicken to Debate Newt,” Gingrich hit his rivals for backing out of a CNN-sponsored debate that had been scheduled for March 1 but was canceled after Santorum, Romney and Rep. Ron Paul of Texas said they would not attend.

“I’m going to ask them to reconsider and come to Georgia. It’ll be just fine,” Gingrich told an audience of about 400 gathered in an airplane hangar in Peachtree City for an evening rally. “We’ll be hospitable, and frankly there’s something wrong when someone tries to buy their way to the presidency.”

The frequently cash-strapped Gingrich campaign has relied heavily on his solid performances in the national televised events. After the event, talking with reporters, Gingrich said, “All I can tell you is that the average Georgian and the average Ohioan is going to say, ‘Let me get this straight, they’re not willing to come here to debate but they want my vote?'”

As of now, there are only two scheduled remaining primary debates. On Wednesday, February 22, CNN will be holding a debate from Arizona to which all four candidates have confirmed. PBS is also still scheduled to hold a debate March 19 from Oregon but that could certainly change between now and then.

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Nate Ashworth is the Founder and Senior Editor of Election Central. He's been blogging elections and politics for almost a decade. He started covering the 2008 Presidential Election which turned into a full-time political blog in 2012 and 2016.

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