In the style of the previous Gingrich-Cain and Gingrich-Huntsman Lincoln-Douglas debates, Newt Gingrich invited (challenged I supposed) Mitt Romney to a similar format 1-on-1 discussion of the issues. Romney declined the invitation citing the numerous debates which have already taken place.
Report from the Associated Press:
BETHLEHEM, N.H. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday spurned chief rival Newt Gingrich’s challenge for a one-on-one debate in the run up to the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses but dismissed the notion – suggested by the former House speaker – that he was afraid to participate in such a face-off.
“We’ve had many occasions to debate together and we’ll have more, I presume quite a few more, before this is finished,” Romney told The Associated Press. “But I’m not going to narrow this down to a two-person race while there are still a number of other candidates that are viable, important candidates in the race. I want to show respect to them.”
Gingrich was campaigning Thursday in Virginia, the day after inviting Romney to debate him and discuss negative TV ads that Romney’s allies are running in Iowa. Gingrich focused largely on Obama at his first stop but had several events planned throughout the day.
Romney’s response about being respectful to the other candidates is reasonable given the fluidity of the polls. That being said, I think this would have been a debate worth watching. Gingrich likes this format and it suits him well so it is no surprise he’d like to lure Romney into Lincoln-Douglas setting.