Yet another attempt at a GOP Presidential debate is toast, as none of the major candidates have agreed to participate in a September 27 event, hosted by Tavis Smiley, at Morgan State University in Baltimore. A Dartmouth/NECN debate for later this month has aparently been scrapped. A Univision debate originally scheduled for this weekend has been "indefinitely postponed" because only McCain agreed to show. The GOP's CNN/YouTube debate had to be postponed from this month to November -- and Romney has already declined to participate then. [Update: I forgot, Romney is also skipping the 9/17 "Values Voters" forum in Florida.]
Meanwhile, new national polls show Romney at 9 percent (ARG) or 8 percent (Fox News), consistent with other polls released this month. Despite spending an unfathomable amount of money, he remains at or below 10% in the critical early state of South Carolina, verifying my long-held theory that no Republican south of the Mason-Dixon line is going to vote for a slick, wealthy, double-talking Mormon Northerner.
Romney continues to lead in New Hampshire and Iowa, thanks mostly to his nonstop advertising for many months while his competitors have yet to run a single TV ad in those states, but even those leads are stalled and unimpressive.
Personally, I think that Romney's campaign is heading toward a rapid denouement -- particularly if Newt Gingrich's entry next month knocks Mitt out of first place in Iowa polls, as I suspect it will.
So, why won't Romney do these debates?