With Bachmann Out, Trump Debate a Party of 2

Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum are the only candidates on board

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 9, 2011 3:58 AM CST

(Newser) – Ready for an evening with Donald, Rick, and Newt? Michele Bachmann has become the latest candidate to confirm that she won't be attending the GOP debate Donald Trump is hosting on Dec. 27, leaving Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as the only candidates who will be there, the Los Angeles Times reports. Rick Perry bowed out earlier yesterday and Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman have also said no—with Huntsman calling the debate a joke.

Earlier this week, Bachmann had expressed concern that Trump had already chosen a candidate to endorse. RNC chief Reince Priebus has said he doesn't think it's appropriate for candidates to take part in a debate hosted by someone who hasn't ruled out a third-party run, a concern Trump says some debate no-shows have mentioned. "People are afraid that I'm going to run as an independent candidate, and some of the people that are supposed to be in the debate have expressed that. I don't want to give up that option, because it certainly is an option," he says.

Looks like there'll be one debate where Rick Santorum gets plenty of airtime.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Republican presidential candidates former House Speaker Newt Gingrich speaks as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum listens.   (AP Photo/Toni Sandys, Pool)
Newt Gingrich looks to his wife Callista during a break in a Republican presidential debate at Dartmouth College, Tuesday night, Oct. 11, 2011, as former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum looks on.   (AP Photo/Jim Cole)
Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich smile after meeting in New York earlier this week.   (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
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