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Donald Trump tapped to moderate GOP debate (yes, really)

ElectionsPoliticsDonald TrumpMedia IndustryRepublican PartyTelevision IndustryNewt Gingrich

There will be no boardroom, and no one will get fired. But those who say the Republican primary race has been something of a reality show have new evidence in the announcement that Donald Trump has signed up to host a debate planned in Iowa, just a week before the leadoff caucuses.

The forum is being organized by Newsmax, the conservative media group. It's unclear yet whether any candidates have agreed to participate.

According to the New York Times, which first reported on the event, Newsmax has partnered with the obscure Ion Television network to broadcast it. Candidates were formally invited on Friday.

Michael Cohen, a spokesman for Trump, confirmed his participation, saying he was approached by Newsmax Chief Executive Christopher Ruddy.

Asked if the event would resemble Trump's NBC reality show, "The Apprentice," Cohen said: "I presume it will be in the same format" as other debates.

Trump, of course, considered running as a candidate himself before stepping back to focus on "The Apprentice." He's since drawn most of the GOP contenders to his New York office for private, one-on-one meetings.

Newt Gingrich is set to meet with "The Donald" on Monday.

"I suspect, like the other Republican candidates, Newt will seek Mr. Trump's advice and endorsement," Cohen said earlier this week.

Newsmax officials did not immediately respond further questions about the planned debate. Two others are scheduled in Iowa, on Dec. 10 and 15.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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ElectionsPoliticsDonald TrumpMedia IndustryRepublican PartyTelevision IndustryNewt Gingrich
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