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Jon Huntsman will skip presidential debate moderated by Donald Trump

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Trump (Richard Drew/AP)

The conservative news magazine Newsmax announced Friday that it would co-sponsor a Republican presidential debate moderated by media personality and real estate tycoon Donald Trump on Dec. 27th in Des Moines, Ia., but they may have trouble convincing candidates to show up.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman is the first to send his regrets.

"We look forward to watching Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich suck up to Trump with a big bowl of popcorn," Huntsman spokesman Tim Miller told Yahoo News.

The debate organizers sent out debate notices to the presidential campaigns today, but they have not yet heard back about who will show, Newsmax Social Media Director Brett Sandala confirmed.

"We've gotten a few positive responses but we're not doing any release on that until next week," Sandala said.

Trump will moderate the debate on his own, Sandala said, and will cover several topics.

"It's going to be a general debate," he told Yahoo News. "It's not necessarily focused on a specific issue."

Campaign spokesmen for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney did not immediately return a request for comment.

Jeremy W. Peters of The New York Times first reported that Trump will moderate the debate.

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