Perry expresses regret over taking part in debates
October 25th, 2011
10:43 PM ET
3 years ago

Perry expresses regret over taking part in debates

(CNN) – GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry said if he had made any mistakes thus far in the campaign, it was "probably ever doing one of the" debates.

"All they’re interested in is stirring it up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people," Perry said on Fox News Tuesday.

Answering criticism over his debate performances, the Texas governor has repeatedly said Americans weren't looking for the "slickest" candidate or the smoothest debater in the race.

Perry, who rolled out his flat-tax plan Tuesday in South Carolina, again said he used the wrong word when describing people who disagreed with him on immigration as "heartless."

He first dialed back his remark in late September after facing a strong reaction from within the GOP.

Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal immigrants at public universities.

In the interview Tuesday, Perry also took a shot at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who sparred with Perry during the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate last week in Las Vegas.

Continuing his attack on Romney as a flip-flopper, Perry said: "In his own words, he says 'Listen, I need to say whatever I need to say for whatever office I'm running for'."

Also see:

Perry to meet with S.C. governor

Perry on Obama: 'It's fun to poke at him'

Perry to meet with DeMint


Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (437 Responses)
  1. Dave, Santa Barbara

    The other contestants don't regret joining this reality show because they're still on the island.

    October 26, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Greg in Arkansas

    I don't think it was the "debates" that hurt him as much as it was his "answers"

    October 26, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  3. chelseallj

    Of course he regrets participating in the debates. It was the final proof that he has no idea about anything. And this guy wants to be the president? I'd actually like to see him in a debate with Obama. That would really be something!!

    October 26, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. Woman In California

    As stupid as he is and even as bad as his performance in the debates has been – I still say he'll be the nominee – because Perry is like a child. He will go kicking and screaming like a two-year old before he's told to go home. Republicans don't trust Romney and in that regard they're smart. They know he will ultimately FAIL in the GE and they want Obama out. With Christie (unable to run) the rest of them don't stand a chance and Perry relates more to the TP crowd and would be a better debater against Obama. Romney has too many flat out lies and unexplaned issues. His body language is stuck just like his numbers – and he will never get the backing he needs. While it is my hope NONE them ever gets ANYWHERE near the WH it won't stop them from trying to run this band of losers so we must be ready to defeat them at all costs.

    Obama 2012.

    October 26, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. M.R., Massachusetts

    Perry is a used car salesman. And the number one rule of used car salesmen is "Don't let them look under the hood". The debates let us look under the hood ... and the consensus is that Perry is a lemon.

    October 26, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  6. Lee

    I guess if he is elected, gets that 3am phone call and fails in his response, he can just say he regrets answering the phone.

    October 26, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  7. Mercyless

    Rick Perry is a nut case! I know, what I have just said adds a lot of depth to the coversation :)

    October 26, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  8. JDUB

    Rick Perry is like every other man I've met from Texas – an arrogant man with an inflated ego who thinks he's way greater than he really is. In Rick Perry's case, the emperor has no clothes.

    October 26, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. TM

    Perry is proof that light travels faster than sound. He LOOKED smart right up until the moment he opened his mouth and let all his pent up stupid out for everyone to HEAR. No wonder he regrets taking part in the debates.

    October 26, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. DenInNooYawk

    Make sure you keep the helicopter blades going so that you don't have to answer questions from the lamestream media LURKING outside your ignorant faith-based bubble.

    October 26, 2011 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  11. Paul1st

    Can you imagine President Perry at a press conference, or an international summit, or even a state of the union address? Will he pout if he doesn't like the questions, or cry if Chavez or Ahmedinijad calls him names to his face, or sulk if everyone doesn't applaud with a standing ovation?

    October 26, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  12. Michael Siever

    So, in other words, he regrets running for President as a mainstream, non-third-party candidate, since participating in the debates is a requirement...he does this in Texas for every gubernatorial election. In 2006, he scheduled the debate for a night, where a bunch of big, high school football games across the state were scheduled, so nobody watched it. Last year, he refused to debate Democratic candidate, Bill White, because White refused to release his tax returns for the public to see, since that was a personal matter that wasn't important for who was more qualified to be Governor. Perry is a coward.

    October 26, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Wes Scott

    You people denigrating Texas lack an understanding about our political structure. Unlike your states, our state does NOT have a strong governor. In fact, our governor is only the third most powerful seat in government. The Texas Railroad Commissioner, who controls oil and gas revenues, is the most powerful elected office in Texas. Next is the Lieutenant Governor, who is the head of the Texas Senate. Our governor is basically just a front guy for media relations, albeit (currently) a very bad choice in the opinion of many Texans.

    We are not all a bunch of dumb, hick Aggies like Rick Perry. If you spent any time here, then you would know that. We are home to NASA and a lot of very intelligent people. We are home to MD Anderson Cancer Center. We are home to Dr. Denton Cooley and the late Dr. Michael DeBakey, two of the world's most revered heart surgeons. President Dwight W. Eisenhauer was a Native Texan who became Supreme Allied Commander in WW II. The list of accomplished Native Texans is long and the state has a distinguished history that seems to be lost on mental midgets that get off on blaming us for Bush when it was Connecticut that gave that piece of garbage to the world. And, we are not all neo-conservative NAZIs, either!

    October 26, 2011 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. michael

    GW Bush Jr as far as the intellectual department. Please tell me America is not dumb enough to elect someone again with an IQ under 70. We can't afford it!

    October 26, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. JSinVT

    Yeah... I'd regret participating in the debates too if I came off looking as lame and babyish as Perry did. I'm afraid most of the stirring it up between the candidates was fueled by his own ignorant comments and hostile tone. Believe it or not Mr. Perry, the American people kind of do want to see what the person who runs their country is like... That actually counts as an issue we are interested in.

    October 26, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. janedoe

    You were doing fine until the birth certificate thing. You brought that on yourself. Trump is going to bring you down just like him and Palin. You fell right into it. You let your own party set u=you up for failure. Don't regret it now.

    October 26, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  17. pccel

    As a Texan, let me say that Perry is definitely not ready for prime time; he's been reelected time and time again because he's in a predominately red state, rewards his cronies with the spoils of office, plays well to evangelicals, has the good ole boy attitude coupled with Texas swagger, likes to kiss the gals and slap the good ole boys on the back, which all play well in this state; he will not have the same luxury in many other states, especially in the NE and west. To top it off, he is not a smart man and definitely cannot think on his feet as exemplified by his debate performance; who wants some one like that in the WH at any time much less when there is a crisis to confront.

    October 26, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. SaintM

    If Perry thinks the debates were a rough ride within his own party, he will shrivel in a national debate against the one who already has the job. Perry is an arrogant cowboy, who does not have the positive poll numbers in his own state to carry him all the way to the WH. With Perry eliminated, Romney and Cain will go after each other and the president. Romney will catch heat from the far right and intelligent moderates, and Cain will be destroyed by the vetting process.

    President Obama, 2.0

    October 26, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. biggins08

    What planet is this guy from? He didn't know what to expect going into a presidential candidate debate? Sounds like a whole lotta bs in order to try to cover for his particularly poor performances during the debates. And if for some strange reason he really didn't know what to expect then he certainly is not capable of holding the office of President

    October 26, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. cf

    I read the teaser headline "Perry's big regret" and thought it might be about something meaningful like the fact that he murdered innocent people in the name of "justice." Guess I was wrong.

    October 26, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. lgny

    Perry's mistake was failing to do his homework prior to the debates. He was unprepared and stumbled his way through them. If elected president, will he go in "cold" to international negotiations?

    October 26, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Rick 7809

    Let's see, we have Perry complaining that all the debates do is "stir it up" between candidates, when in the same interview he takes a shot at Romney and constantly takes shots at Obama. And he says this on Fox "fair and balanced" News which never resorts to that type of tactic. This guy would be a great choice, just like the last Texas Gov. we had as president.

    October 26, 2011 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. Al-NY,NY

    you regret it because you couldn't debate your way out of a paper bag. You are only governer because that third world country you live in would elect a space alien in before voting in a democrat

    October 26, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. Marty

    You can safely say at this point that Romney will be the next POTUS.

    I like Cain, but he has "misspoken" too many times, and even I, a moderate conservative winced when he came out in opposition to the mosque construction in TN. It has nothing to do with race- unlike, what the wacko extreme lefties would have you believe, but Romney is it.

    October 26, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. jack

    Mr. Perry, the commentators at the debates do ask the questions. What I have seen time and time again as I watch the debates, republican or demacratic, you don't really answer the questions. The responses are started with " before I answer that, I need to go back to... or something similar and when you do "answer" the question, you're either patting youself on the back or are trying to blow sunshine up my rear. This "stirring up" you talk about is based on the things that have either been stated and or written and are contradicting.

    October 26, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
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