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Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal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

    Perry should have stated "too bad I didn't take part in any of the debates when running for Govenor of Texas"! Kay Bailey H. showed more intelligence! Perhaps he would have been prepared instead of showing how inept he is. Also, the statement in the second paragraph about talking about the issues is so hypocritical since Perry is the one that brought up the old and past birther story. Can you just imagine Perry and Trump having dinner and discussing such a story...

    October 26, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. BobInIrvine

    Perry "repeatedly said Americans weren't looking for the "slickest" candidate or the smoothest debater in the race." They certainly found the dumbest one, Rick.

    October 26, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  3. Texas calm

    But oh wait, he was lead "Yeller" in college.

    Perfect for a moron bully!

    October 26, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Psst. Hey, Rick. Not showing up would have been worse than showing up and looking bad. You always had the option to give straight answers to direct questions and act like the statesman in the room, instead of trying to spin the facts.

    October 26, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. Sitting Back Laughing

    " stirring it up"?? Soo, Mr. Perry, threatening secession is not stirring it up? Bernanke visiting Texas "we would treat him pretty ugly"... thanks for the sound bite, Rick. "Heartless" gop candidates, you're soooo so cuddley, Ricky. Trump agrees with you that Obama's citizenship is not settled? (forget the fact that his mom was from Kansas, yep, Toto). Oh Rick, the company you keep. And you are NOT stirring things up for political "expediency" to quote good ol' warrior Bill Bennett. You have become a bigger teeeexas joke than George W, and you haven't even been elected to any national office. Way to go, Ricky.

    October 26, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  6. MaxNatoma

    What he should regret is opening his mouth in the first place.

    October 26, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  7. AB

    I think Rick Perry realizes that he is out of his league as far a national office is concerned and regrets running at all. He isn't the sharpest knife in the draw and he knows it. Being governor of a state is not the same as being POTUS. The American people are looking for a serious leader who is more than reasonbly intelligent, qualified for public office and can make sensible and sound policy decisions for the nation. Perry isn't that leader.

    October 26, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  8. Jo Jo

    Perry (more than anyone else) knew he wasn't ready for prime time. Yet, he allowed his ego to take control of his brain and steer him in the political arena. After watching part of the debate, I'm scratching my head as to how this man was elected governor. Does he even understand how government works? At times, he could not answer the simplest questions. No, Perry, your biggest regret should be thinking you could actually run this country.

    October 26, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. thomas

    @C.B.C.
    I AGREE with Perry on this. These "debates" have been "jury-rigged" from the beginning....and have served more to "manipulate" the voting Public that to inform them. The "Media" has OBVIOUSLY "manipulated" the debates by which candidates they allow and those that they DON'T INVITE. It has been PROPAGANDA of the worst sort. That sort of manipulation by the Press (Media) reminds me of the old Soviet Russia. DISGUSTING !!! ...and certainly "Un-American".

    Did you go to the same school as Newt the spin Dr ? Rick Perry would have done great in a Communist dictatorship , he could have executed thousands and built corporate prisons !

    October 26, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. Charlie from the North

    Hmmm. So what your sayig is that you would like to become the leader of one of the best and most complicated countries in the whole world without ever disclosing your thoughts on government or being exposed to tough questioning. Okay well then just how are we supposed to judge your fitness to be our leader? By the # of guns you own, or the church you go to?.................oh that's right you are running in the new GOP. Maybe that's enough now.

    October 26, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. SteveAndrew

    We can no longer trust anything that the Republican candidates have to offer.

    Rick Perry is now a complete puppet just saying what he is told by his advisers.

    His advisers recommend that he stop any new tax on the rich, stop environmentalist who want clean air and oceans because he is supported by the coal and oil industries.

    The Catholic Church promote the Tea Party movement because they do not believe a woman has a right to make a choice. The Republicans and Tea Party are out to kill any program for the needy, education, unemployed and homeless. Is this being American? No. Treason.

    October 26, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  12. jhl

    Two other regrets:
    (1) going to college – who knew Texas A&M would be hard and that his grades would be so poor
    (2) painting over that rock – it was a good name and he could use it to find the cabin

    October 26, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. NuwanSam

    We in Texas no Perry can not debate. In 2012 he ran for the governer and he refused to come to a debate with his opponent Bill White. He does not know how to control the words coming out of his mouth. He is arrogant to believe that everyone should agree with him. I knew as soon as he opens his big mouth in a debate, he would scare those republicans who never new him outside Texas. That is happening. Although many idiots in Texas blindly accept him in spite of all the bad stuff he has done, he is no presidential material. He can not do debates period. He will tumble and fail one after the other from debates. Now if can not debate with other republican candidates, imagine he debate with very articulate debtor like Barak Obama. He does not stand a chance there. Some people may not rely on debates. But many does. These debates expose them, show their true colors and test them. I think the polls reflect what people come to realize after seeing true colors of the hypocrite Rick Perry. We are trying to ship him out of Texas governorship. Why would anyone wants to ship him to White House :)

    October 26, 2011 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  14. Bob

    Rick Perry won't debate in Texas because it makes it obvious that he's all hair and no cattle. Now the whole country knows – no wonder he doesn't like it.

    October 26, 2011 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Mike in Fairfax

    This really doesn't pertain to this story but to the comments on this board and those on other stories here. I am amazed at the poor spelling and grammar many of you possess. How did some of you even graduate from grade-school? It's hard to take you seriously when you can't even spell.

    October 26, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  16. joe smith

    we also agree with Perry; this mass media in this country has their own agenda, influenced by THEIR special interests..if it isn't AIPAC, and the jewish influence, it's george soros, and the right wing nut from saudi in fox..none of the candidates get a fair shake..poor Ron Paul, and Newt, they are practically non entities..things will change..

    October 26, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Debbie

    George W. Bush was terrible at debates, too. That's why his handlers wouldn't let him debate Ann Richards when he was running for governor. They knew he would look like an imbecile. Perry, like Bush is not a smart man. But Perry is also pretty mean spirited. He has an ego larger than the state of Texas, and he will say ANYTHING to win. Perry should NOT be taken seriously. He's a terrible governor that has a lot of corporate cash.

    October 26, 2011 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. C in the South

    And the hits just keep on coming from this guy. This revelation does not surprise me at all when you consider that debating is essentially `deliberation`. That is, the act of careful consideration and "thinking" before making sound decisions. He has certainly proven himself to be less than capable of that.

    October 26, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. Jaywing

    Here's the difference betweeen Obama and any GOP candidate: Obama, if you remember, walked into the GOP lion's den a year ago, debated them at their own retreat, and beat the crap out of then at every turn. The GOP candidates can't debate among themselves in any coherent way but bicker like little children, try to block debate ala Sarah Palin, or run from debate. The heat of public scrutiny is too high for the GOP clowns. Obama 2012!

    October 26, 2011 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. babs

    Yeah them debates is all 'bout thinkin'. We don't need no preziduhnt who thinks.

    October 26, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. Mike, Albany

    It is really the Republican party, both the candidates and their base, that truly epitomizes the dumbing down of America. It's impossible to take any one of these candidates seriously when every word they speak is an assault on the intelligence of the diminishing fraction of people in this country who have made every attempt, despite a failing educational system, to educate themselves and become informed about the issues. While I suspect most of these people will be democrats, even if a few republicans are counted among their numbers, I would imagine this minority must be intensely frustrated at the garbage their presidential hopefuls spew forth on an hourly basis.

    October 26, 2011 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  22. max

    If you can't hang, just yell 'foul'. Perry could have risen above the others–he chose not to. He's only making excuses for his poor performance.

    October 26, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  23. Kathleen Farrell

    de·bate 
    1.a discussion, as of a public question in an assembly, involving opposing viewpoints
    2.a formal contest in which the affirmative and negative sides of a proposition are advocated by opposing speakers.

    October 26, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  24. Annie, Atlanta

    No wonder he refused to debate in his previous elections. He's in no way ready for prime time here, and it really shows. This is sad when such an amateur can be convinced to run for the office of President of the United States. Of course, in this toxic political environment, where hate and money trump all our previous standards, he could actually win. Doesn't say much for us, does it?

    October 26, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  25. Annie, Atlanta

    babs – great comment. That about sums up what we're seeing from him. Very sad.

    October 26, 2011 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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