Barack Obama had declined to commit to the event, saying he wasn't sure it would work with his schedule. The Illinois senator had previously said he would be able to debate in North Carolina, but on a date before Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary.
Hillary Rodham Clinton had agreed to the later debate, and the state's Democratic leaders had urged Obama to join her. The forum would have been the first moderated by CBS News anchor Katie Couric.
In a press release sent out, party officials also admitted to "growing concerns" about what another debate would do to party unity.In response to the debate cancelation, the Hillary Clinton's campaign accused Obama of brushing off the people of North Carolina. "We are willing to move forward with another time and location for the debate so that he has no excuse for not participating. Unfortunately, it is becoming clear that Senator Obama simply does not believe that North Carolinians deserve the opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about how they will fix our economy, bring our troops home and provide quality health care for every American.
Both Senators Clinton and Obama will be aggressively campaigning in North Carolina before the May 6th Primary.
In addition, Senators Clinton and Obama have committed to attending our Jefferson-Jackson Dinner on Friday, May 2 in Raleigh.
The contenders have debated 21 times during the presidential campaign, including an event last week in Pennsylvania.