The four leading front runners for the Republican presidential nomination—Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain, Gov. Mitt Romney and character actor Fred Thompson—are sharply criticized after their decision to ignore last night’s debate that focused on issues related to the black community.
Much of the outrage comes from members of their own party and the candidates who attended the debate. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee says he is "embarrassed" and Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS) described the no-shows as "disgrace."
Giuliani, Thompson and Romney were all at fund-raisers on Thursday night. Romney defended his choice to sit out the Morgan State forum to the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody: "You've got to raise the money, and you've got to do the grassroots work and getting on in the early primary states."
Not everyone on the right is whitewashing the decision by the Republican top tier. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calls the decision "fundamentally wrong" and "baloney." The money quote is from former Rep. Jack Kemp: "We sound like we don’t want immigration; we sound like we don’t want black people to vote for us. What are we going to do—meet in a country club in the suburbs one day?"