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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has flip-flopped again …

After initially declining to participate in a candidate forum sponsored by U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, Romney decided on Tuesday that he would rearrange his schedule to accommodate the Palmetto state stop – which is scheduled for next Monday.

As with numerous 2012 election stories particular to South Carolina, news of Romney’s decision first broke on our founding editor’s Twitter page.

Shortly thereafter it was confirmed by Jennifer Rubin of The Washington Post.

“We’re pleased we were able to arrange our schedule so that Gov. Romney can attend Labor Day events in both New Hampshire and South Carolina,” a Romney spokeswoman told Rubin.

Romney’s surprise decision to come to the Palmetto state (his first visit here in months) comes just hours after a new poll revealed the complete and total implosion of his double-digit lead in this critical “First in the South” primary state.

The new South Carolina frontrunner? Texas Gov. Rick Perry – who enjoys a 20-point lead over Romney according to a survey released on Tuesday by Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm based in North Carolina.

Perry is also attending DeMint’s event, along with U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul and former Godfathers’ Pizza CEO Herman Cain. A pair of other candidates, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum were not invited to the forum because their poll numbers aren’t high enough.

DeMint endorsed Romney in advance of the “First in the South” primary in 2008. He has yet to make his preference known this go-round.

DeMint’s forum is being sponsored by the American Principles Project – a political organization founded by Robert P. George, who is the same social conservative activist responsible for forming the National Organization for Marriage. That’s the group that got Romney, Bachmann and Santorum to sign this pledge.

It will be held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, S.C. on September 5 at 3:00 p.m. EDT. The event will be broadcast statewide on South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV).

Interestingly, the American Principles Project ran a scathingly anti-Romney column written by an Iowa political analyst shortly after the former Massachusetts governor declined the group’s initial invitation.

“Why is Governor Romney skipping out?” the column’s author asked. “Does he not believe that South Carolina voters (and beyond) are worthy of a more extensive interview?  You’d think that since he has been bumped out of his frontrunner status that he would jump at this opportunity.  Perhaps he’s afraid to get beyond sound bite answers on topics related to our founding principles?”

“South Carolina, don’t worry you’re in good company with Iowans who don’t seem to be worthy of his time and attention either,” the column concluded.

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