Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Ron Paul, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum have taken the stage in Tampa, Florida for the Tea Party Express/CNN debate. Moderator Wolf Blitzer announced that all 8 GOP presidential candidates were on stage. But they aren't . . . where's Buddy?

The Times-Picayune reports, "CNN announced that [Buddy] Roemer was not among invitees to its Sept. 12 debate in Tampa, co-sponsored with Tea Party Express, because he did not rate well enough in the polls, even though they invited New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, though neither is now a candidate for president."

Buddy Roemer is eminently qualified. He's the former Louisiana governor and congressman. He also successfully ran a community bank. Sure, he might not be too well known these days, but he should be! Is he any less qualified to be president than the one term governor of Massachusetts (Romney), a former Obama administration diplomat (Huntsman), a congressman from Minnesota (Bachmann), or a CEO from Atlanta (Cain)? Certainly not.

In addition to his impressive experience, he's just been making a lot of sense on the campaign trail. Consider his statement today, calling on President Obama to fire Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of the White House's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

"[H]ow can Congress or the American people possibly take President Obama seriously when his own very jobs council is run by a special interest insider whose firm paid no federal tax and made a record profit last year by shipping our jobs overseas?" Roemer asked.

“I therefore call upon President Obama to immediately fire his jobs council chairman Jeffery Immelt. Mr. Immelt has not only been ineffective in the position, but he represents precisely the type of corrosive special interest influence that the large checks purchase in our political system. We must end the unfair trade practices with China and others who do not play by the rules as well as close all corporate tax loopholes to truly reignite our manufacturing sector.”

“President Obama might just as well have appointed Hu Jintao as head of his jobs council.”

Roemer was not invited to participate in this evening's debate because he has not polled well enough to meet CNN's threshold. Indeed, he has not met the threshold (so far!) to participate in any of the primary debates.

UPDATE: While Roemer might not have been in attendance, his spirit was well represented by former speaker of the House Newt Gingrich:

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