Jim Galloway at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is reporting:
We’re hearing that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney may skip the pre-Super Tuesday debate to be broadcast by CNN in Atlanta on March 1.
One interpretation: This may be an indication of what he thinks his current chances are in both Georgia and Ohio, whose GOP organizations are co-hosting the event.
Another interpretation: Romney is the candidate with the cash, and this could be his way of denying free media to his financially strapped rivals on the eve of the biggest election day of the primary so far
If Romney goes through with this, it's probably because he's going to carpet-bomb all the Super Tuesday states with as much negative advertising as is humanly possible, and he doesn't want to have to justify that decision before a live audience. Now the news is breaking that the other candidates—except for Gingrich, of course, because Gingrich never met a speaking opportunity he didn't want to hump to death—are backing out, too. This is terrible strategy. The three remaining candidates would be better off going through with the debate, anyway—the absence of Romney could be perceived as arrogance, and could potentially serve as a counter to the toxic campaigning.