Romney turns down DeMint Labor Day forum
August 24th, 2011
11:23 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney turns down DeMint Labor Day forum

(CNN) - Mitt Romney will not attend a Labor Day forum in South Carolina organized by conservative kingmaker Sen. Jim DeMint, who endorsed Romney's run for president four years ago.

Romney spokesperson Ryan Williams, citing scheduling conflicts, said the candidate will instead spend the day in New Hampshire, sending another signal that the former Massachusetts governor is not focusing on the early Southern primary state like he did in 2008. He was not previously listed as attending the event by the organizers.

Last week CNN confirmed Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and businessman Herman Cain will participate in the Palmetto Freedom Forum, to be held Sept. 5 in downtown Columbia. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accepted the invitation Tuesday becoming the fifth participant, the campaign confirmed via Twitter.

Also invited were two Republicans still flirting with a bid: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Though unexpected, if they choose to accept they have until 5 p.m. Wednesday to indicate they will participate.

But event organizers - a small group of well-connected DeMint supporters calling themselves the "Keep Your Powder Dry Caucus" as they search for a 2012 candidate to get behind - did not invite two declared candidates, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman.

Organizers said early on that to be invited, a candidate must surpass the five percent threshold in the RealClearPolitics average of national polls. Santorum and Huntsman have yet to do so.

The forum, officially titled the "American Principles Project Palmetto Freedom Forum," will be fronted by DeMint, Iowa Rep. Steve King and Robert George, a conservative legal scholar and the founder of the American Principles Project.

Candidates will take turns fielding questions from the trio of panelists for roughly 20 minutes at a time.

According to organizers, candidates will be asked to "engage in a thoughtful, substantive discussion of their stances on critical issues facing our country."

- CNN  Political Reporter Peter Hamby contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Jim DeMint • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. kierthos

    Does it bother anyone else that this is being organized by a group calling themselves "Keep Your Powder Dry Caucus"?

    August 24, 2011 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. diridi

    Folks, I all telling you, you are all aware of How Reaganomics made this nation a total failure, How Bush Iraq war created irreparable damage, so I all I say, is I solute to you all, just vote direct Democratic Ticket, do not entertain these GOP and Tea Party thugs. Listen, this nation is on right track, it takes some time to fix this huge problem. But we are going to win, and this nation is going to be very stronger than ever before. God Bless...Obama2012.

    August 24, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Willard is going to spend his time in New Hampshire because he knows good and darn well he has no chance of winning in South Kakalaki. Gov. Yeehaw is going to win SC hands down. He's just the kind of yahoo those folks like.

    August 24, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. Bill from GA

    I kinda get the feeling that Mitt doesn't really want to be President. He likes the attention he gets from running, but to actually have the job is too much work for him. That's why he won't challenge Perry, or go to these nutjob forums in backwater states.

    August 24, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |

    What, Romney doesn't want to be associated with the other weirdos? It's too late.

    August 24, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Bill from GA

    And besides, Mitt has people to keep his powder dry for him. he don't need no help from Deminted.

    August 24, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. thomas

    "Keep Your Powder Dry Caucus" Pure Genius !

    Since none of Romnys five sons did any military service , I understand why mitt wouldn't show up.

    August 24, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Liberal elite=anyone with an education

    So, you have to meet the Real Clear Politics litmus of 5% if you're Huntsman, to get an invite? But if you're Palin you don't even have to declare? I guess Huntsman is too moderate and clear headed for the "keep your powder dry so you can reload as you're retreating" party. Sounds like the GOP intends to shoot...themselves in the foot in 2012

    August 24, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Ed Texas

    I think it was smart of Rmoney not to attend the extreme wacko "right winger" social issue forum. He needs to stay a moderate if he wants a chance to win the independents who are turned off by extreme right wingers politicians like Demitt, Perry and Bachmann. Oh, I bet Palin will have her bus down in SC to join in on the looney fun forum.

    August 24, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Very smart of Romney to focus on NH like a laser. He NEEDS to win there FIRST.

    I kinda get the feeling that Mitt doesn't really want to be President. He likes the attention he gets from running, but to actually have the job is too much work for him.
    I've had this opinion of Obama for a while now! He's in WAY over his head having never run anything in his life.

    August 24, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    If Romney's current aloofness is any indication as to what his "presidency" will be like, I want no part of it. He's NOT coming across as a leader at all. Seems almost as if he's viewing his wannabee "presidency" as nothing more than an "entitlement" do him and his status as Big Man In Town. This guy is so far removed from the plight of average Americans that I doubt he'd ever be able (or willing) to relate. Mention of Romney invariably brings to mind "let them eat cake". NOT just because of his wealth, mind you, but also due to his self serving attitude, which HAS gotten more pronounced over the months. That being said, DeMint has a rather high opinion of himself as well. Freedom Forums? Keep Your Powder Dry Caucus? Really? How absurb.

    August 24, 2011 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  12. Al-NY,NY

    Expect a last-minute grand entrance from the Quitta from Wasilla. She just loves the publicity as long as it agrees with her agenda. If not then it's "lamestream media" day. I anxiously await to hear the "questions" that are going to be asked..."how unamerican is Obama?" "Why is he ruining the country?"

    August 24, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. gt

    did obama serve in the military or clinton... whats up with that reason....son did not serve what..

    August 24, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Flint Rock

    Romney might have traditional conservative views (not my cup of "tea"), but at least he doesn't come from the shallow end of the gene pool.

    August 24, 2011 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. Bill

    Smart move Mutt. These wingnuts are bad news.

    August 24, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |

    The Keep Your Powder Dry Caucus?!? I think the rest of America could already tell how wacko Demint is, and this group just reinforces that fact. Then again it is SC where many of these extreme right wing-nuts are, hopefully, and I'm sure it's true, there are many many more moderate people in SC than there are right wing-nuts, it's just that they seem to get the press all the time which gives SC a bad name. The real people of SC need to stand up and be heard! With any luck the Keep Your Powder Dry Caucus's powder will blow up in their faces.

    August 24, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    this nation is on right track, it takes some time to fix this huge problem.
    Three YEARS of record unemployment, record deficits and record debt is "on the right track"??? I guess thats true if you expect the track to end at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Luckily nearly 80% of the American do NOT share your opinion. I guess we remember when this country did much better.

    August 24, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    I love watching sports, especially the Olympics. Watching these GOTP hopefuls go through their compulsory exercises like Olympic gymansts is fascinating to me.

    August 24, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  19. Mikey

    This is one thing in Romney's favor. I'm still hoping one of the nut-cases (everyone other than Mitt and Jon) wins the nomination. That would significantly increase the chances of reelection. However, it is a bit risky, because we could end up with a total nut job in the White House. What's the process for immigrating to Canada, anyway?

    August 24, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    seems to me that Romney, the unemployed rich corporation, is trying to seperate himself from the right wing wackos on the ticket since it looks like only he and Huntsmen are the sane ones. Maybe he doesn't want to attend DeMint's "Waterloo".

    August 24, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. Republican for President Obama

    He is focusing on developing his anti-Obama jobs plan. It will read:
    1) Disavow the average worker
    2) Focus on raising salaries and bonuses for the corporate elite
    3) Send more jobs overseas and increase outsourcing agreements
    4) Classify each corporation as a citizen so they can vote... remember corporations are people too.
    5) Let the corporations he worked with in the past pay for his house expansion in Cali.

    August 24, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Sniffit

    "I guess we remember when this country did much better."

    Yeah...before the GOP started it's decades long ideological freak dance over the Civil Rights Act and New Deal and the changing demographics of the country.

    August 24, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. thomas

    @ gt,

    Its about why they didn't serve in the military. Times of conflict has much to do with a volunteer military. Yet , I cant vote for a hawk as commander in chef who has five sons that avoided military service in favor of a on wall street.

    August 24, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Jilli

    DeMint, Iowa Rep. Steve King and Robert George,

    Wow, a few of the nutiiest wingnuts. This ought to be a hoot!!! A view from an alternate reality.

    August 24, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    You can go ahead and caption that picture 'Greetings Earthlings" now.

    August 24, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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