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Donald Trump will moderate a debate between Republican Presidential hopefuls on December 27. There's just one problem:

Only Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are currently scheduled to show up.

With Mitt Romney, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman having already turned down the invitation, Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry added their negative RSVPs this week, prompting The Donald to say these candidates are "scared" and that he may need to run against them after all.

  • Donald Trump Profile
  • Michelle Bachmann Newsweek Cover
  • Rick Perry Picture

"The Republicans are afraid of me running as an Independent," Trump tells TMZ. They’re all afraid. The only person NOT afraid is Newt... There are two reasons that these candidates are backing out of my debate. One, some just aren’t courageous people. Two, some are concerned that I may run as an Independent. They want me to give up ... and I’m NOT giving up."

We're not so sure, Don. Have you seen this Rick Perry ad?!? Say what you want about the man, but he isn't afraid to look like a moronic homophobe.

Trump for President?

 

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Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was sentenced to 14 years in prison yesterday for what prosecutors called a criminal corruption crime spree three years ago.

Blagojevich was convicted of corruption charges including trying to trade President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat in exchange for money or favors.

Don't expect any Lindsay Lohan loopholes either. He'll have to serve a minimum of nearly 12 years under federal rules that require 85% of sentences be served.

As he left the Chicago courthouse, Blagojevich told reporters that "we're going to keep fighting on through this adversity ... This is a time to be strong."

The judge announced the sentence after a somber Blagojevich, his voice cracking with emotion, pleaded for leniency with a round of apologies to ... everyone.

"I'm here convicted of crimes. The jury decided I was guilty. I am accepting of it. I acknowledge it, and I of course am unbelievably sorry for it," Blagojevich said.

"I want to apologize to the people of Illinois, to the court, for the mistakes I have made.... I never set out to break the law. I never set out to cross lines."

The judge was unmoved. He must report to prison by February 16.

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Republican Presidential candidate Rick Perry has rolled out a new campaign ad, one unlike any you've seen before. And quite possibly for good reason.

Like the infamous Herman Cain smoking ad, you see it once and think "No, this has to be a parody." Then you watch it again, and nope, it's sure not.

The Cliff Notes: Perry is strong. Obama loves gays and hates Christmas. Nice.

Give the Texas Governor credit for melding every wedge issue - homosexuals serving in the military, Barack Obama, the secularization of America, and people who don't celebrate Christmas - into an ad less than 30 seconds long. Skillfull!

While Perry is clearly gearing the ad toward a segment of the Iowa electorate and it may well prove to be effective, it has 3,213 likes and 138,473 dislikes on YouTube.

Sort of like how Perry polls a lot of places.

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As if the Republican presidential race didn't already feel like a a reality show, Donald Trump is pairing up with conservative magazine and website Newsmax to moderate a presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on December 27.

“Our readers and the grassroots really love Trump,” said Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy.

That they do, hilariously. From an entertainment standpoint, can you not?

Donald and Melania Trump Picture

Greatest. Presidential. Debate. Ever.

Trump’s role in the debate, which will be broadcast on the cable network Ion Television, marks another memorable moment in a primary season that has been an unpredictable, publicity-driven, circus-like spectacle for months now.

The Donald toyed with running for president earlier this year and ran his mouth about Barack Obama's birth certificate until he was blue in the face. He ultimately declined against getting into the race and has not endorsed a candidate.

The debate, which will not be limited to a specific topic like national security or the economy, is set to happen just a week before the Iowa caucuses, and will be called the Newsmax Ion Television 2012 Presidential Debate.

Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have already declined invitations to participate, with the former bashing the event as beneath the office of the presidency. Herman Cain dropped out of the race yesterday, so he won't be there either.

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In the wake of both sexual harassment and infidelity allegations, Republication Presidential nominee Herman Cain suspended his campaign this afternoon, effectively ending his bid for the White House in 2012.

Herman Cain Pic

"As of today, with a lot of prayer and soul searching, I am suspending my presidential campaign," Cain said at an Atlanta rally, vowing that "I am not going to be silenced and I am not going away."

Cain cited the "continued distraction" of chatter over Ginger White's claim that she carried on a 13-year affair - during which Cain supposedly showered her with gifts and financial help - with the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza as the basis for his decision.

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GOP Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann will not be her party's nominee.

Sorry, hardcore believers out there. It's not personal, it's just not happening. But why let that stop her from speculating on who she'd pick as her Vice President in 2012?

"I have just the highest respect for Rick Santorum. He's a very sharp guy, and I could easily see making him attorney general," Bachmann tells the Des Moines Register.

Another name on the Minnesota Congresswoman's short list: The Donald!

Bachmann, Trump

Who are three Republicans who will not be the next President?

"We've got a lot of wonderful candidates who would fit that bill. Easily comes to mind I think would be Jim DeMint of South Carolina. Marco Rubio of Florida," she told CNN.

"There's a lot of great people out there. And Donald Trump is someone that I think a lot of people would be intrigued with, too," added Bachmann, hilariously.

Trump, of course, toyed with the idea of running for U.S. President himself this year, then backed down, implying he could've won if he tried, but wasn't up for it.

He's the best.

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Jon Stewart and The Daily Show staff pulled a fast one on GOP Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman over Twitter. What did the comedian do to his namesake?

Well, the Republican, who is active on social media, held a "Twitter Town Hall meeting" on Tuesday, asking followers to send him questions via hashtag #Q4Jon.

Stewart, obviously, thought up a fun prank and asked his Twitter followers to "tweet actor Jon Hamm your questions by 4:15 Eastern! Hashtag #Q4Jon.”

Huntsman

You can imagine the results. One question thus read, “Jon, in ten years do you see yourself following George Clooney’s or Tom Selleck’s career path?”

Jon Huntsman, to his credit, Tweeted: "Definitely Clooney's career path. But I think that Q was for Jon Hamm. Funny prank @TheDailyShow! #Q4Jon"

The funniest question that the presidential hopeful answered was one that involved variations of his first name. One user asked the former Utah Governor:

"@JonHuntsman Do you feel those who spell John w/ H are wasteful liberals using consonants wantonly & w/o discretion? #Q4Jon"

Jon Huntsman's response? A simple, hilarious "Yes!" Sadly, no one asked if he is the title character in Snow White and the Huntsman.

Anybody else think all U.S. presidential candidates should be constitutionally required to field questions on Twitter at least once a month from now on?

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Amid a flurry of salacious allegations, GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain is thinking seriously about becoming former GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain.

All before a single vote has been cast in the race, no less.

The Georgia businessman told his staff this morning that he's "reassessing" his bid for the White House after yet another female accuser - Ginger White - came forward with accusations against him, specifically that they had a 13-YEAR affair.

The Iowa caucuses are scheduled for January 3. While he no longer has frontrunner status, polling indicates Cain could still be competitive in Iowa.

Cain has denied the affair allegations in public and did so again during the conference call, but told his staff, "Obviously, this is cause for reassessment."

Before Ginger White, four other women accused Cain of sexual harassment during his tenure as head of the National Restaurant Association in the '90s.

He refuted those claims as well, but acknowledged that with White, he says, "we have to reassess whether or not this is going to create too much of a cloud, in some people’s minds, as to whether or not they would be able to support us going forth."

Cain admits he knows White, but had only been trying to help her out financially ... as a friend. No word if Gloria Cain will back him up on that one.

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A Georgia woman, Ginger White, says she and Herman Cain had a 13-year affair that lasted nearly until the businessman announced his White House run.

Last weekend, FOX 5 Atlanta sat down with White, who insisted that despite coming forward, “I'm not proud. I didn't want to come out with this. I did not.”

White was worried a political tsunami was headed her way, so, she decided to head it off, confessing her alleged 13-year-long affair with the Republican.

NOTE: Herman Cain denies White's allegations categorically, and the candidate's wife, Gloria Cain, has defended her husband from all the allegations so far.

That said, the alleged mistress insists this affair was real.

“It was pretty simple,” White said. “It wasn't complicated. I was aware he was married. I was also aware I was involved in a very inappropriate relationship.”

Ginger White says she met Herman Cain in the late 90s in Louisville, Ky., when as president of the National Restaurant Association, he made a presentation.

“He made it very intriguing,” White told FOX 5. “It was fun. It was something that took me away from my humdrum life at the time. And it was exciting.”

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Barney Frank - a 16-term Congressman from Massachusetts and one of the more outspoken politicians of his time - announced yesterday that he will not seek reelection in 2012.

Citing a new redistricting map that will include many people he has never represented, along with a desire to do other things in life, the 71-year old surprised many at a press conference in Newton, MA on Monday, saying at one point:

"I think I would have won but it would have been a tough campaign. I hate raising money."

One of the more polarizing figures in Washington, Frank became the first openly gay man to serve in Congress. He's been at the center of support and controversy recently, due to his Dodd-Frank law and his pre-crisis support for government housing agencies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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