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Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014

Romney hasn't committed to Tampa debate on Monday

Published:   |   Updated: March 19, 2013 at 11:48 AM

Mitt Romney is wavering on whether to participate in a debate at the University of South Florida on Monday night.

Asked whether he has committed to the debate in light of news reports suggesting otherwise, Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams responded in an email today, "We have no announcements at this point on upcoming debates."

The producer of the debate for NBC couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

USF spokeswoman Lara Wade said she "has no information" on who will participate, and that USF officials are meeting with the NBC crew this afternoon.

The question arose after conservative commentator Byron York reported yesterday that Romney adviser Stuart Stevens said the campaign hasn't committed to either of the two debates in Florida — USF's Monday night, and another planned for Jan. 26 on CNN in Jacksonville.

Romney took a pasting from the other candidates in the South Carolina debate Monday. York quoted Stevens as saying, "There are too many of these. ... It's kind of like a cruise that's gone on too long."

With Rick Perry dropping out of the race, that means the debate could turn into a two-man show between the two remaining candidates who each hope to become the alternative to Romney for the nomination, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

"We're locked in" for the debate, "and we're ready to go toe-to-toe with Santorum," said Gingrich Florida spokeswoman Portia Palmer.