GOP front-runners absent from debate

Sept. 28, 2007 at 7:27 AM
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BALTIMORE, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Empty lecterns on the stage were reminders of Republican presidential hopefuls who declined to debate at a historically black college in Baltimore.

Absent from Thursday night's nationally televised debate at Morgan State University were former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani; Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney; and former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., the GOP leaders in polls, The Baltimore Sun reported Friday.

"If you can't show your face to someone you want to represent, how can you represent us?" asked Aimena Lipscomb, 21, a Morgan State senior.

The front-runners' absence gave lesser-known GOP presidential hopefuls the opportunity to debate issues of importance to minorities as the event's hosts voiced skepticism the Republican Party offered opportunities for people of color, The Sun reported.

Those hopefuls who attended -- Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee; U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.; U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas; U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.; and former U.S. Ambassador Alan Keyes -- spoke of the importance of attracting more black and Hispanic voters to the Republican Party.

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