No-Shows Spark Debate at GOP Forum

By: 13 News/AP
By: 13 News/AP

A debate among Republican Presidential hopefuls Thursday night is sparking debate over who did and did not take part.

Organizers of the forum at Baltimore's Morgan State University focusing on minority issues left four empty podiums, drawing attention to the absence of leading candidates Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Fred Thompson. They say their schedules conflicted with the event.

Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, who did take part, says it's "a disgrace" that the four leading candidates skipped a debate focusing on minority issues. The White House hopeful says the absences are also bad for the GOP.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said he was embarrassed for the four candidates and for the Republican party.

Also in attendance were Congressmen Duncan Hunter of California,
Ron Paul of Texas and Tom Tancredo of Colorado, and conservative
activist Alan Keyes, who announced his candidacy last week.

The Republican candidates answered questions ranging from what they would do to help minorities, to their views on illegal immigration and the war in Iraq.

PBS aired the forum.

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