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December 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With some commentators noting that it bears a striking resemblance to The Apprentice, the next Republican presidential primary debate will be moderated by Donald Trump and air on ION Television on December 27. Many of the contenders have been courting Trump for an endorsement, and it was not clear whether the debate would wind up with Trump announcing his selection. (Trump has also hinted he himself might run on a third-party ticket.) The debate is scheduled to take place at the Hoyt Sherman Theater in Des Moines, Iowa one week before that state holds its caucuses and becomes the first state in the union to select a candidate. Appearing on MSNBC’s NewsNation, Trump said that the debate will give him an opportunity to “do something I haven’t done before.” He added that he hoped the debate “does as well as The Apprentice” and described the candidates as “some very talented people. I think they are tough. I think they are smart. I think they have some good ideas. … I will be at some point endorsing somebody.” But Republican kingmaker Karl Rove remarked over the weekend that the selection of Trump to moderate a Republican debate seemed “weird” to him. Asked if he were managing a campaign, would he allow his candidate to appear at such a venue, Rove said, “If they don’t show, they don’t have a chance at [Trump’s] endorsement.” Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman have already announced that they will not participate.