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Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann to Boycott Univision Debate Due to Extortion Allegations

Mitt Romney
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman will also skip the event after the network is accused of trying to embarrass potential VP candidate Marco Rubio when he refused an interview.

Five Republican presidential candidates are skipping a Univision debate after the network was accused of threatening to embarrass potential VP candidate Marco Rubio when he wouldn't sit down for an interview with the Spanish-language network.

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Mitt Romney, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann issued separate statements  this week that they would not attend the Jan. 31 debate, according to the Miami Herald.

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Univision is accused of recently devoting two days of coverage to Rubio's brother-in-law Orlando Cicilia's 1987 drug arrest -- in retaliation for Rubio declining to be interviewed by the network's Al Punto show, which reflects liberal views on immigration.

“This attempt at extorting a respected Republican elected official like Senator Rubio, who is also a proud American of Hispanic descent, is offensive and unacceptable,” wrote U.S. Rep. David Rivera, state House leader Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and Miami-Dade Republican Chairman Erik Fresen in a joint statement.

Univision calls the allegations "absurd" and said they reported the 24-year-old story in fairness.

Said Perry in his statement: "With NBC and Telemundo also hosting a debate the same weekend in January 2012, we will have ample opportunity to engage with Spanish-speaking Americans."