Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will skip the presidential candidate forum being held by South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), The Washington Post reports, avoiding the pressure exerted on the GOP field by a tea-party kingmaker:
"He will be in South Carolina enough to show that he is the best candidate to beat [President] Obama on jobs and the economy," said spokeswoman Andrea Saul, adding that Romney will probably campaign in the state in September.
Romney visited the state a few times as a prospective candidate, but not since he announced his candidacy in June. His wife campaigned there in July. ...
In contrast, Perry launched his campaign in South Carolina, which has a record of picking the eventual nominee that goes back to 1980. Perry will appear at the Columbia forum, along with former pizza executive Herman Cain, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
DeMint has become a kind of tea-party godfather in Congress, if there is such a thing. In the 2010 elections, his political group promoted tea-party Senate candidates across the country, as they pulled off a wave of surprising primary wins. Romney probably isn't going to win South Carolina, and, more broadly, he's probably not going to win the kind of tea-party votes nationwide that DeMint represents. He hasn't overexerted himself to secure them -- even as other candidates have strained, at times, to appear more fiscally conservative and tonally aggressive -- and this decision seems to fit with his approach to the tea party in general.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.