“Scheduling Problems”

Fred Thompson will not participate in a Sept. 27 debate at an historically black college in Baltimore, joining John McCain, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani in passing up the forum for reasons of scheduling conflicts.

But the Huffington Posts takes the candidates to task, noting that the GOP front-runners also passed up a Univision forum and a forum at the convention of the National Association of Latino Elected & Appointed Officials.

“The rejections underscore the consistent absence of GOP candidates at minority voter forums,” writes the Post’s Sam Stein.

Tavis Smiley, who moderates the Morgan State University event, said, “There is a pattern here. When you tell every black and brown request that you get throughout the primary process that ‘no, there’s a scheduling problem.’ That’s a pattern… Are we really supposed to believe that all four of these guys couldn’t make it because of scheduling?”

Thompson has compared the debates to a circus show — he’s also skipping a “values voter” forum this month — but he has agreed to a trio of forums in October. According to the New York Times, the campaign announced that Thompson will appear at an Oct. 9 CNBC-sponsored debate on economic issues in Dearborn, Mich., an Oct. 14 forum in Manchester, N.H. and, a week later, at an Orlando, Fla. debate.

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