July 8th, 2013
02:17 PM ET
1 year ago

Ex-advisers hint at future as Perry announces exit as governor

San Antonio, TX (CNN) – Rick Perry may be giving up what he called "the greatest job in modern politics." But he's not leaving the Texas-sized political stage that launched his last run for the White House anytime soon.

After an event Monday in San Antonio where he announced he will not be seeking a fourth term as Texas governor, Perry was asked what he plans on doing with the time off he has coming.

"No time off man. What are you talking about? You weren't paying attention in there," Perry told CNN.

During a 15-minute speech thanking his family and supporters, Perry vowed to stay busy around the Texas state house. He repeatedly referred to the fight over abortion rights currently consuming the capitol in Austin.

But the Texas governor offered few clues about his political future, despite billing Monday's announcement as an unveiling of "exciting" plans.

Perry seemed prepared to announce only that he would "pray and reflect and work to determine" what comes next.

"Any future considerations I will announce in due time and I will arrive at that decision appropriately," Perry told the crowd.

Perry: 2016 ‘certainly an option’

Perry's reluctance or unwillingness to reveal any upcoming plans stunned some in the San Antonio crowd.

"Not making future announcement. Wow," Matt Mackowiak, an Austin-based Republican strategist tweeted from the event.

Still, the campaign-style video that played on the jumbo screen before Perry's remarks left no doubt the Texas Governor and his team believe they still have a story to tell.

Touting the state's robust job growth over glossy film images of the stark Texan landscape and people, Perry brags in a long Lone Star drawl, "Texas is not merely strong but exceptional."

"It's obviously on his mind," said one former Perry staffer at the San Antonio event, referring to the possibility of another run for the White House.

"The sky's the limit," said another Perry loyalist, before conceding some Republicans would have to get over other "remembrances."

That was a reference to the near implosion of Perry's last campaign during his disastrous November 2011 GOP debate in Michigan. The Texas Governor famously forgot the third of three departments of the federal government he would eliminate as president. "Oops," Perry finally said, after failing to jog his memory in an excruciating and unforgettable television moment.

After that night, Perry pressed on only to stumble through the early primary and caucus states before bowing out in South Carolina.

The Texas governor has tried at times to explain his dismal 2012 performance. He has lamented his late entry into the race.

Still, Perry barreled into the 2012 race as an instant threat to eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney's front-runner status. Now, as governor for the next 18 months, Perry would still have access to a potent donor base.

Perry acknowledged he is keeping an eye on 2016 in an interview on Fox News Sunday. "Certainly, that's an option out there," Perry told Fox News.

In deciding against a fourth bid for governor, Perry has now paved the way for Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott to run for and likely win the state's Republican gubernatorial nomination. State Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who last month filibustered a bill to restrict abortion rights in Texas, is frequently mentioned as a potential Democratic contender.

Several GOP strategists in the room at Perry's San Antonio event expect Abbott to make a formal announcement as soon as this weekend. Perry's decision to omit specific mentions about any future plans may have been out of courtesy to Abbott.

There were other notable faces in the crowd. Lee Majors, the star of the 70's era action show, "The Six Million Dollar Man," was also in attendance.

The sight of the actor who played the fictional astronaut, given super human strength after a near-death experience, invited some observers to wonder whether the same can be done for Perry's political career.

It's Perry's life that has been the stuff of Hollywood. Raised in the tiny town of Paint Creek, Perry rose to become the state's longest-serving governor. He assumed the governorship in December 2000, when George W. Bush stepped down to become president. Perry was elected to full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

"It's been an improbable journey," Perry told the crowd.


Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Rick Perry
soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. Brandon

    Time to write a book I guess.

    July 8, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  2. Chuk

    Good, hope he runs for "president" and wins the Republican nomination. Republicans have not yet learned not to keep fielding extremists as their candidate. They will, some day.

    July 8, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  3. vp

    He has a zero percent chance of winning, so go ahead, make a donation to his retirement fund.

    July 8, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    This guy is crazy idiot so are texans to elect him....

    July 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. kmac

    Strike up the band–HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN

    July 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. Thinks2010

    At the same time Perry announced he will not seek another term, strong winds were reported across Texas. Meteorologists were at a loss to explain the phenomenon until they realized it was just a giant sigh of relief issuing forth from Texas residents.

    July 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Stephanie

    Thank goodness he's leaving. Now lets hope that the next one isn't the same or worse. I do hope that the people of Texas will get together and elect someone who has the people's best interests in mind and not just his own twisted religious views.

    July 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Liltx1015

    I couldn't agree more , with both comments. I am from Texas and embarrassed of my States leadership. Pray for us, that we don't get another Republican!!

    July 8, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. maruzicho

    I believe that all elected officials should have term limits period. Term limits might actually get people working for the actual people they represent. I don't understand how someone can be in a position for more than a decade when America needs variety, difference, and reality to increase growth. I'm for Mayors and even city council members having term limits. Why does a community, state, or country want one view for that length of time? Then people point fingers and blame the wrong people as for example the wealthy for not getting the job done.

    July 8, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Jean2

    Teas is a great state. I hope they find a good and wise person to replace him 111

    July 8, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Hu Phart Ngau

    How is it that the people of Texas always get the lucky breaks...?

    July 8, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. andy f

    Three things I want to say about him: he's stupid,
    Incompetent and uh...what was that other thing?

    July 8, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. DARNELL

    LOL so funny seeing the CNN liberals talking trash about Rick Perry while blue states like Cali are going BANKRUPT due to bad management!!!! Read 'em and weeeep!!!

    July 8, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Mike

    I bet many Republicans are regretting not voting for him in 2012. He would have been a strong candidate since he actually is proud to stand up for his values and has a strong record of achievements in Texas.
    ----------------
    You have cited the exact reasons why Republicans did not vote for him, his record.

    July 8, 2013 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. MK

    I'm not a fan of Perry by any means, but that said, someone in Texas must be – three times. Maybe it just goes to show the mentality of Texans.... just saying....

    July 8, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  16. Tony

    @ Catherine
    Who is worse than rick perry i don't think anyone is baby.

    July 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. Mike

    Well, he did Texas a big favor. Now, he could do the country a bigger favor and drop dead.

    July 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. Obama the rappist muslim

    You will be missed sir. One of the best governors ever. Now lets compare him to our stupid governor in California, Mr. Brown turd. A true democrat theif stealing from the middle class.

    July 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Floyd from Illinois

    He just made himself a lame duck. Luckily for Texans, that means he'll have a harder time pushing his lunatic agenda.

    July 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Steveo

    @JoshO

    Quick pole – Who has the best chance of being elected president?
    A. Rick Perry
    B. Tyler Perry
    C. Katy Perry
    D. Perry Mason
    ---------
    E. Steve Perry
    F. Perry White
    G. Gaylord Perry

    Sorry, couldn't help it!

    July 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  21. larry simpson

    your next President

    July 8, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Ray

    I like the French adage which fits Tricky Ricky to a "T"! "A fool will always find another fool to admire him."

    July 8, 2013 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. Ted Nolan

    The bad news is Perry is not running again. The good news Texans have the opportunity to elect someone even more conservative. The sooner Texas is lib-free, the better. Same for the US.

    July 8, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. maruzicho

    I'm for term limits put on all elected officials. Why does a community, state, or country want one view for a decade? Then we wonder why it takes a decade to get something done that could have been finished in a year or two. I think variety, difference, common sense, and reality increases America's growth.

    July 8, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. allenwoll

    .
    If this were taking place in Quebec, Perry would be fined by the Language Police for misusing the word "leadership".
    .

    July 8, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
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