Santorum hesitant on more primary debates

Rick Santorums campaign said its not planning for any more GOP primary debates, while Newt Gingrich is calling for one to happen before next Tuesdays contests.

Gingrich said on Monday he planned to attend an upcoming debate in Portland, Ore., hosted by PBS. He also said he wanted there to be more debates, possibly in Mississippi and Alabama, states with upcoming primaries in which the former House Speaker is hoping to do well.

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Mitt Romneys campaign wouldnt say if the former Massachusetts governor will attend the Portland debate, and the Santorum campaign wouldnt commit either.

Santorum spokesman Hogan Gidley told The Hill on Wednesday that the former Pennsylvania senator had no plan for any more debates right now, and noted there had been roughly 20 debates already.

The PBS debate in Portland is scheduled for March 19. PBS confirmed the debate is still scheduled but would not immediately respond to a request for which candidate had committed to the debate.

The last time the candidates met on the debate stage was on Feb. 22 in Arizona. There was a debate scheduled for March 1 in Georgia, but that was canceled when Romney said he wouldnt attend.

Gingrich is a forceful debater and has done well in most of the gatherings. His campaign has been drowned out lately by Santorum and Romney, and he would likely benefit the most from another debate.

I dont think that Romney can just hide behind millions of dollars of paid ads, the former Speaker said Monday on Fox News. Hes got to come out in the open. And I think, frankly, its to everyones advantage to have another debate, so I dont assume that the debates are over. Weve already accepted to be in Portland.