Mitt Romney will not attend the Newsmax debate hosted by Donald Trump.
“I’m not participating in that,” Romney told Fox News host Neil Cavuto in an interview this afternoon. “We have two debates in December that I’ve agreed to participate in. The rest of the month is going to be spent campaigning.”
Romney said he had spoken with Trump to relay his decision, and that Trump had “understood my perspective and wished me well.”
With the Iowa caucuses a month away, Romney indicated he intended to campaign aggressively. “I’ll be on Fox a lot, because you guys matter when it comes to Republican primary voters,” he remarked.
Asked about Newt Gingrich, Romney remarked, “If the American people believe that we need is someone who spent the last 40 years or so in Washington D.C., working as an insider, why, he’s the right guy,” and added that he was sure Gingrich’s time “as speaker of the House will be examined very carefully.”
Romney has criticized President Obama for taking a 17-day vacation in Hawaii, and when Cavuto asked Romney how long of vacations he would take as president, Romney said, “A lot shorter than that.”
“If I become president of the United States, I will work my — day and night off to make sure I do my very best to get America strong again,” he added.
UPDATE: Trump gives ABC News this response to Romney’s decision to forgo the debate: “It would seem logical to me that if I was substantially behind in the polls especially in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida, I would want to participate in this debate. But I understand why Gov. Romney decided not to do it.”