Perry expresses regret over taking part in debates
October 25th, 2011
10:43 PM ET
2 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Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal immigrants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. Larry

    None of these candidates are strong. The only GOPer that would ever have a shot against Obama was Christie.

    October 26, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. Independent from NH

    Very, very few people from my state like you. You are an idiot. Debates are what weed out the weak. And you are weak. Just admitting that you regret attending the debates is a sign of weakness. Do you think Lincoln would have said the same? Do you??

    October 26, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  3. Tannim

    No, Perry's regret in doing the debates is that he's awful at them and they thankfully exposed him for the pretender that he is.

    IOW, he regrets a vetting process.

    But he'll never admit it.

    October 26, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. Shirlene

    OMG! He sounds more like Palin/Backman every day.

    October 26, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  5. BRAY

    Can you imagine this guy as POTUS and leader of the free world?!. He makes GBush seem like an intellectual powerhouse by comparison. I guess money can make almost anything possible.

    October 26, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  6. Jay

    LOL. the GOP is pathetic

    October 26, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Perry Winkle

    This guy Perry seems to have no integrity. He "regrets" giving the American people more information about his character? Who forced him to say what he said during the debates?

    What a creep.

    October 26, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. brad

    Sad. If you only answered with intelligence. Only you can create the reason for "stirring it up". Basically you are just totally and very unprepared. You shouldn't be running. Grow up Mr. Perry.

    October 26, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  9. Yankees fan

    Damage control Rick. If you won, you would have had to debate Obama. Then everyone would have seen what they see now – you're not the brightest bulb. Hopefully Texas sees that now because the light is dimly shining on your political career.

    October 26, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  10. runner305

    This Perry is a joke!! What does he think...we the people are not entitled to watch the candidates debate each other? He is like Sarah Palin the whiner...next we'll hear him complain about the "lamestream media".

    October 26, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  11. Belleville

    Talking about the issues? Is'nt this the gist of what a debate is? Every time this fellow opens his mouth he makes a previous republican president look smart. What a shame. Stupid is as stupid does.

    October 26, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  12. RINO Bil

    I won't vote for someone who is a political wimp and regrets "debating" his rivals face to face. I am surprised that a Texan and someone who served in the U.S. Armed Forces would exhibit remorse over demonstrating whatever poise and leadership skills he posses.

    October 26, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  13. Sniffit

    "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,"

    All THE CANDIDATES are interested in is stirring it up between themselves, spewing substanceless talking points and lobbing baseless ideological attacks at the current administration instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people.

    Fixed.

    Make no mistake: If a candidate at one of these debates actually actually wanted to start talking substance, facts, evidence, historical record, etc., instead of just parroting talking points and ideological blather, he/she could. That they don't is 100% their choice and part of their misguided, misinformation campaign, base-pandering strategery.

    October 26, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  14. John Ellis

    Yeah, if he'd stayed out of the debates he might still have a lead in the polls because people would not know who he is. As a former Bush administration official put it when Perry suggested that anything the Federal Reserve did to help the country was 'treason' because it would indirectly help Obama – the president of the US, you've heard of him, Perry is "an idiot", and a dangerous ideological idiot to boot. A lethal combination of Nixon and W. The one thing that would be good about a Perry presidency is it would end the right wing forever unless we became a police state.

    October 26, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  15. Neil

    Perry may be is correct. In debate, candidates are given 1 minute to answer and this 1 minutes is basically used to attack another person instead of actually knowing what they want to do when in office. Honestly, all they do were to dig the past of Perry, Romney and rest all escaped their past. Not much was discussed about Herman cain who just talks of 999. No one really asked what he did and what kind of budget he handled. Can Cain really handle zillions of dollars budget or take when he did not even handle half a billion dollar budget.

    Honestly, the process we need to follow is a federal Committee must be set up who consists of educators, economists, army personnel, federal reserve personnel who will interview each candidate for 3 to 4 hours on TV then followed by group discussions, debates. These debates can be done by media. So people can actually know their candidates. That way people can make informed decision and select who is best to lead this nation

    October 26, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  16. Mario

    I do pay attention to how the candidates respond in the debates. I think it is good for all Americans to hear their answers and see their body movements. I, for one, would never consider a dandidate who is not responsible enough to debate. What are they afraid of?....possibly, their own answers. They all answer to "the crowd" they are speaking to.

    October 26, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  17. Keith in NJ

    If he is not capable of debating and expressing himself on the issues then he does not deserve to be President. He would rather live in a world of soundbites and stupid slogans the will get people charged up. If he is afraid of THIS field of republican candidates what else will he be afraid of. Quit Perry NOW. Get a job on Fox.

    October 26, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  18. cockerel1

    "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.

    This is taken right off Ron Paul's video, where he says he feels like he should have walked off the floor in the midst of the Vegas debate.

    His reasoning?
    It is not about serious debate, but about conflict between the candidates.

    So how come the MSM doesn't give Ron Paul's comments equal time?

    Suggest Perry get some of his own ideas.

    October 26, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  19. usualone

    The debates are a great tool for the candidates to see how they would react under fire from their Congressional opponents, opponents in the world, and so forth, if they were President. The debates have more to do with that (their temperament) than the substance of their arguments.

    October 26, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  20. Jason

    Perry, your performance in the debates had nothing to do with "stirring it up between the candidates". Had you merely stated your beliefs articulately you would have glided by, a la Mitt Romney in the first two debates. Instead, you stumbled over every word you said.

    October 26, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  21. 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 without any assistance. 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 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  22. Citizen

    Very interesting spin on the admittance of his own folly-reading between the lines the statement says “I am an uninformed moron and I have no grasp of issues. I repeat what Steve Forbes and others say to me and I cannot say anything more.”

    October 26, 2011 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  23. Former Republican, but never again!

    He's dead meat!

    October 26, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  24. texan

    You`re playing with the big boys now-- quit whinning !!!!!!

    October 26, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  25. Robert - Atlanta

    Slick Rick is the GOP clown to be worried about. He will tell any lie to be elected and the women seem to love him. You wanna see a huge black market for cash purchases – Wait till Tricky Ricky and the FlatTax scammers add 20 to 30 percent on every purchase in America with no guarantee that rate will not be increased! You’ll have to buy everything on the new Black Market because the over-taxed goods will be too expensive except for The Idle Rich and Trust Fund Babies!

    October 26, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
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