On this Sunday's Meet the Press, David Gregory asked RNC Chairman Reince Priebus whether or not Republican presidential candidates should attend the upcoming debate sponsored by the right wing rag, Newsmax that will be moderated by Donald Trump and Priebus decided to punt, saying he'll leave that decision to the candidates themselves.
As I already noted here, Jon Hunstman has already said he won't attend and it appears Ron Paul won't be attending either -- Paul campaign calls Trump debate ‘wildly inappropriate’.
If Priebus were being honest here, he'd be telling the rest of the Republican candidates to head for the hills as well. I'm waiting to see what excuse Mitt Romney eventually gives to get out of it.
Transcript below the fold.
MR. GREGORY: Do you think that presidential candidates should decline an invitation from Donald Trump to a presidential debate in Iowa?
MR. PRIEBUS: You know, we, we've had a lot of debates, and as you know, some of them have been sanctioned by the Republican National Committee and some of them haven't. I mean, we've had debates with MSNBC as well. But, you know, listen, I think that these are programs that each of these candidates have to decide for themselves whether they're going to compete in. Their strategy involved, whether competing and not competing, those are things that those candidates need to decide.
MR. GREGORY: I'm not quite sure when you say you had it with MSNBC. You had it with NBC News where it aired on MSNBC.
MR. PRIEBUS: Right.
MR. GREGORY: Are you equating that to, to a debate with Donald Trump?
MR. PRIEBUS: Well, I mean, having Rachel Maddow and Ed Schultz, you know, discussing the debate for two hours isn't exactly ideal. But we--but these candidates decide for themselves what arenas they want to participate in.
MR. GREGORY: But do you think it detracts from the seriousness of the debate to have Donald Trump moderating a debate with the presidential candidates?
MR. PRIEBUS: It's up to the candidates. I mean, I don't make those decisions. What--the decisions I make are making sure that we have a functional, operational Republican National Committee.
MR. GREGORY: You're the chairman of the party. You must have an opinion.
MR. PRIEBUS: Right. But I don't--but I don't--but--as--my personal opinion doesn't matter. I mean, what matters is what we need to do as a Republican National Committee to make sure that we're functional and operational and that we do everything we can to make sure that we save this country. And one of the things that we think that we need to do to save this country is defeat Barack Obama.