Mitt Romney changed his mind about South Carolina.
After initially not responding to an invitation to appear at a Labor Day candidates' forum hosted by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., Romney has decided to join five other rivals, including surging Texas Gov. Rick Perry, R-Texas, on stage in Columbia, S.C.
Romney's last-minute entrance indicates that the longtime Republican frontrunner may be shifting strategy in the face of Perry's rapid rise in the polls. The former Massachusetts governor has been sparing in his public appearances, focusing more time on fundraising than on glad-handing.
Organizers of the event welcomed his decision, even though it came after the deadline for entering the forum. "Having full participation from all declared candidates who qualified for the forum proves once again how critical South Carolina is in choosing the next president," said DeMint in a statement.
The six candidates will appear on stage one at a time and will answer questions from DeMint, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and Robert George, a Princeton University professor who helped organize the forum.
Other candidates participating: Reps. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, Georgia businessman Herman Cain, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.