It's official: Mitt Romney is not going to be at Thursday's Republican debate:

Matt Rhoades, the executive director of the former Massachusetts governor’s exploratory committee, said in a statement on Monday: “Governor Romney will not be participating in this week’s South Carolina debate because it’s still early, the field is too unsettled and he’s not yet an announced candidate.”

Maybe poor little Mitt's afraid he'd have to publicly congratulate the president if he showed up.