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Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal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

    Haha perry (I wont capitalize his name, he dont deserve any respect) is shaking in his boots. He sees that his debat performances are hurting him and is now wishing he could backtrack and do away with those debates.

    October 26, 2011 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  2. former Texas republican

    And he has the post debate declining poll numbers to back that statement. He always refused to debate his former opponents in Texas for fear the electorate would see him for what he really is: just another ego wearing cowboy boots.

    October 26, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  3. Portland tony

    Although I'd have to agree with the good Governor, these televised debates prior to the primaries have turned into unprecedented Babel by all involved including the media. But they are a necessary evil because they allow all candidates to be seen, heard and compared face to face. Problem is the moderators start trying to be the part of the show , when they should be there to facilitate the debate.

    October 26, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. Lindsey

    So Rick...lemme get this straight...you think people should vote for you solely because you believe yourself to be a "good Christian", right? Being articulate enough to answer a simple question or defend your own actions doesn't count for anything. Just your belief in Jaysus counts. Your wife saw the "burning bush" for you, and that's all that matters, right?

    I see.

    I wouldn't vote for you for dogcatcher, dude. You'd shoot the poor dog first, anyway.

    October 26, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  5. frag

    I never would have thought it possible, but I'm starting to feel sorry for Republican voters in the primaries. Ever gone to a circus and tried to decide which clown is your favorite?

    October 26, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. CSM

    If he can't handle the debates, what makes him think he could handle the presidency?

    Luckily for America, the debates have shown that he's hopelessly out of his league and will ensure that he won't have to worry about it.

    October 26, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. The Choobs

    "I regret taking part in that thing that made me look bad by forcing me to talk to people and express ideas."

    October 26, 2011 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  8. OnTheRoad

    Please, Please vote for Perry! We need to do whatever we can to get this fool out of Texas as fast as possible!!!!

    October 26, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  9. Mr. Moderate

    Yet again more proof that he is not ready for the big time. So if he gets the nomination, will he refuse to debate the president?

    October 26, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. sortakinda

    Perry, off the record: "It's not like everybody knows now what a dope I am, but now everybody knows what a dope I am."

    October 26, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  11. Paul

    Perry's only regret is that he hasn't yet gotten to shoot a man in the face like Dick Cheney.

    October 26, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  12. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Perry = "W" on steroids. Scary, indeed.

    October 26, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Nina

    Debates are a 'mistake' for Perry because he can't string two sentences together. Mitt Romney thrives in debates. What is it about these Texas Governors that they can't get a firm grasp of the English language?

    October 26, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Doug

    Leave it to "Slick Rick" to find an excuse for doing poorly in a debate. There was a reason he never wanted to debate when running for governor of Texas – mostly because he is clueless.
    Do we want a President who would not be able to debate with other world leaders????
    Seriously – think about – VERY lame to blame a poor debate performance on others when the reason for doing poorly is not knowing how to debate in the first place.
    Texas news and reporters have given Slick a "pass" for 10 years – he is not going to get this now – no candidate for President should.

    October 26, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  15. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Americans are looking for a person to lead ALL OF THE COUNTRY toward a brighter future.
    Democrats want the wealthy and connected to pay like they aren't (at the same rate as the middle class).
    Republicans are looking for someone who can pull the wool over enough sheeple's eyes to get back into control.

    ALL OF US are looking for someone who, under stress much greater than a stupid debate, can at least utter a coherent sentence. You, Mr Perry, failed repeatedly and UTTERLY.

    October 26, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. Sci1

    "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.

    One big problem with that statement is that Mr. Perry continues to bad mouth his competitors. Sorry, Mr. Perry, but just because you don't know how to debate does not excuse you. The leader of our country should at least be able to handle a debate. Actually, trying to "stir" people up seems to be more your behavior. Attempting to rile the voters to your side by dragging out the tired issue of the President's birth certificate was a sad attempt to gain support. Maybe you should follow your own advice and actually stick to the issues we care about: economy, jobs, health care, and threats again the US, the list goes on, pick any topic.

    October 26, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. Michael in Houston

    you and your wife seem to think that there should just simply be a red carpet laid out for your path the Presidency. Neither of you seem to be cut out for the rigors and vetting that IS REQUIRED to win the WH. If you cant handle a simple debate with people in your own party for cyring out loud then how on earth do you expect to get through the next 12 months. Good grief Mister....muscle up and quit your complaining or get out of the race if you cant hack it. I will tell you Rick Perry....you have had it far to easy here in Texas.

    October 26, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  18. JoeT

    Perry, I am with you– I likewise regret your participation in the Republican "debates". I will never get that time, nor my lost brain cells back.

    October 26, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. John

    That right because he know he not smart enough to take part In the debates. Any man that can come on TV and the News and tell them he has a love affair with his Gun Is a Nut case. I own a Gun but i don't go around and tell people I had a love affair with It that just plan sick.

    October 26, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  20. V in Chicago

    Can't hang, eh Rick? You should bow out gracefully now because your done. When Newt can out poll you, it's all over.

    October 26, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  21. Skitownrefugee

    Rick is still trying to find the message(s) that resonate with the republican primary(s) electorate but he just can't seem to put his finger on it (them). This guy just hasn't got the smarts or political skills to be president. What may work in Texas isn't necessarily going to work on the national stage and he's fallen to a meager 9% in the most recent polls. He's right that the debates don't go very deeply into answers for the issues and turn out to be 20 sound bites of mostly slogans and what the candidates hope will be catchy phrases that will make it to the morning news. This guy (as are most if not all republican candidates for the presidency) is out of his league – and he as just about all of the republican candidates would be disastorous as president. When Obama gets to go one-on-one with whoever emerges, they are going to be taken to school on a wide range of issues and I predict that president Obama will emerge again.

    October 26, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  22. Matt

    What the heck did you expect? Wake up Republicans. It has been this way in political debates since Jackson! Stop blaming the media for your own psycho candidates and Repub candidates, start being more level headed and maybe you won't end up fighting each other so much. If one guys opinions are from Mars and the other's from another galaxy you are of course going to disagree,

    October 26, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Average Joe

    Perry makes George Bush look like some sort of super genius.

    October 26, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  24. Clyde M

    I'm in Texas and though I don't like Perry, I have said for years that he stood a strong stance of being President in 2012. But I don't think so any more. He looked weak all through the debates, never improved his performance (which I'm not sure if that says more about his ineptitude or that of his handlers), and now acts like his performance was the result of the media and others just trying to stir the pot and not his own inability to be a strong debater? Unless he starts standing up for himself and his ideals in a passionate, engaging, rational way and stops playing the image game, he's doomed.

    October 26, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  25. Clint, Wa.

    "In his own words, he says 'Listen, I need to say whatever I need to say for whatever office I'm running for'." Even if it is a big fat lie.

    October 26, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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