Donald Trump Bows Out of Moderating GOP Debate

12:18 PM PST 12/13/2011 by Rebecca Ford, Lesley Goldberg
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The outspoken entrepreneur said that he is still considering running for president.

Donald Trump announced that he is backing out of moderating a Republican debate in Iowa on Dec. 27.

Why? Because the billionaire says he may still run.

“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” Trump said in his statement. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”

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Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were the only Republican candidates who had agreed to appear at the Dec. 27 debate moderated by Trump.

After the announcement came that Trump would be moderating the Dec. 27, some of the candidates, including Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, expressed their belief that the debate was just for spectacle and refused to attend.

"This isn't about ratings for Donald Trump; this is about jobs for the American people," Huntsman told CNBC when he announced he would not participate.
Several prominent Republicans have reportedly urged candidates to skip the event. They predicted it would be a media circus and a distraction from important issues.

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On Tuesday morning, The Hollywood Reporter spoke with Trump, who admitted that he was wavering on his decision to moderate the debate. "The problem is the Republicans are afraid that if I run as an independent candidate, they don't want to have a debate and then have me announce that I'm running as an independent candidate," Trump told THR.

Trump also told THR that he is still considering a run for president as an independent candidate. He told THR that he wouldn't make any announcements until after the finale of The Celebrity Apprentice. The new season premeires on Sunday, Feb. 12 and the finale airs May 20.

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