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Steele to participate in debate

Embattled Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will participate in the Jan. 3rd debate for RNC chair, the Web site The Daily Caller reports. (The Daily Caller is co-sponsoring the debate with fiscal conservative Grover Norquist's group Americans for Tax Reform and the anti-abortion-rights group Susan B. Anthony List.)

VIDEO: NBC's Domenico Montanaro reports on the RNC Chair race and that Chairman Steele will participate:

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Steele suprised the political world when he announced he would seek reelection. And he lost a key backer yesterday, when California committeeman Shawn Steel defected.

Steele is also facing an Anybody but Steele campaign. Committee members are pushing a "No Deal with Steele Pledge," hoping to force the other candidates not to cut a deal with Steele that could keep him in the job.

Few believe Steele will be able to corral the 85 votes of the 168 committee members to win reelection.

Five others are running for the post, including Wisconsin GOP chair and former RNC general counsel Reince Priebus, a former staunch Steele ally; Saul Anuzis, a Michigan committeeman; former RNC political director Gentry Collins, who penned a damning letter which many think severely damaged Steele's chances at reelection; Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official; and Ann Wagner, a former Missouri party chairwoman.

Steele's participation means the forum at the National Press Club will be quite the spectacle, exactly what party committee members hoped to avoid.