Romney will skip debate hosted by Donald Trump

By the Associated Press | December 6, 2011 | 4:41 PM EST

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he will not participate in a debate being hosted this month by real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump.

Romney told Fox News on Tuesday that he called Trump and told him he would not attend.

Several prominent Republicans have urged candidates to skip the Trump debate. They predict it will be a media circus and a distraction from important issues.

Trump has suggested that President Barack Obama is foreign-born. He also has not ruled out a presidential bid as a third-party candidate.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has said he will attend Trumps' Dec. 27 forum.