First GOP Presidential Debate, In May, Could Lack Huckabee

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with Rep. Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul ( R-TX and Mitt Romney at 2008 Reagan Library presidential debate. i i

hide captionSen. John McCain (R-AZ) with Rep. Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul ( R-TX and Mitt Romney at 2008 Reagan Library presidential debate.

Mark Terrill/AP
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with Rep. Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul ( R-TX and Mitt Romney at 2008 Reagan Library presidential debate.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with Rep. Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul ( R-TX and Mitt Romney at 2008 Reagan Library presidential debate.

Mark Terrill/AP

For those of you who have been waiting breathlessly for the first debate between Republican presidential hopefuls, we learned Monday it will be held May 2 at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

Brian Williams, the NBC News anchor and John Harris, Politico editor and chief are scheduled to be the co-moderators at the debate which is scheduled to be aired on MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo and Politico.com, according to a statement issued by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation.

But one of the politicians thought to be an early frontrunner for the nomination, Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, indicated recently that he won't attend a debate that early since may not even make his decision to run until the summer.

During a question and answer session at The King's College in New York City, Huckabee indicated that he was setting his own schedule, according to a report in the Christian Post (h/t Political Wire):

Huckabee, who hosts a show on the Fox News Channel, told the group of young Christians Friday that he refused to let the media and political atmosphere dictate his decision.

"I don't want to get suckered into taking on the schedule because it's what the media wants us to do," he said. "You want to schedule a debate for March or May, knock yourselves out. If I'm not there, you can still have it. But I'm not going to be there."

Meanwhile, as has been widely reported, Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, won a GOP presidential candidate straw poll over the weekend among New Hampshire Republicans that has been declared to be basically meaningless by savvy political observers.

Romney was, after all, governor of the state next door which could explain why he was first with 35 percent of the vote. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) was second with 11 percent, a solid indicator that the straw poll probably is an outlier.

But what was unmistakable was that it was yet another sign that the 2012 presidential campaign is upon us.

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