Ron Paul to Skip Huckabee Forum in Ohio

Ron Paul to Skip Huckabee Forum in Ohio

By Caitlin Huey-Burns - March 1, 2012

Mike Huckabee is hosting his third special-edition presidential forum in Wilmington, Ohio, on Saturday, but only three of the four GOP candidates will participate. The odd man out is Ron Paul, who will be campaigning in Washington state, which holds its caucuses that day.

The event will be broadcast on Huckabee's Fox News Channel show, and the producers declined Paul's request to appear via satellite from Washington, saying such accommodations have not been allowed in the past, and doing so this time would be unfair to the candidates who agreed to attend in person. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum have confirmed their attendance.

RCP obtained a letter Huckabee sent to Paul explaining the rules and format for the program, and expressing disappointment that the congressman will not appear at the forum, which will focus on jobs.

"Unlike some of the multi-candidate debates and forums, we have always provided you with exactly the same amount of time as any other candidate as is the commitment in our format to all candidates," wrote Huckabee, himself a presidential candidate in 2008. "All candidates were invited at the same time and all have made changes in their schedules and arranged to be present. No other debate or forum involving all the candidates on any network [has] allowed a candidate to appear via satellite."

According to the letter, the Paul campaign called Fox News' decision "arrogant." Huckabee said he and his staff disagreed and "in fact feel that giving you an accommodation that was neither asked for nor granted to any other candidate would more objectively be considered both arrogant and blatantly indefensible."

Attempts to reach the Paul campaign for comment Wednesday night were not successful. 

Huckabee's forum will be taped at noon Saturday and will air that night and twice again on Sunday. Ohioans will vote two days later along with voters in nine other Super Tuesday states.

Caitlin Huey-Burns is a congressional reporter for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @CHueyBurnsRCP.

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