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Bush skips the week's main political show

Despite the inaugural appearance by Fred Thompson, this week's debate of Republican presidential candidates faced steep challenges attracting viewers.

It was conducted in the afternoon (starting at 1 p.m. PDT). It was televised on a niche cable network (CNBC). And it was repeated during the night on MSNBC, hardly the channel of choice for the GOP's conservative base (that would be Fox News).

Turns out the untold millions of non-viewers included President Bush (which was probably just as well, given the arm's-length treatment he was accorded).

Bush revealed that he was otherwise occupied at the debate time during an interview today with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo (who may have been disappointed to hear the news, since she was one of the debate questioners).

The president also commented on the problems afflicting the housing market. The Chicago Tribune's "Swamp" blog has the details here.

-- Don Frederick

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
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