July 8th, 2013
02:17 PM ET
10 months 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. Payyourowndamnbills

    He has been an excellent governor who has been re-elected by large majorities. While in office, Texas has experienced the largest increase in jobs in the US. He has kept taxes down. Texas has wisely not elected a Democrat to high state office since the mid 1990s. This is one reason Texas is doing so well.

    If you are going to attack Perry, at least have the stones to say what State you reside in. My guess is most of his critics live in economically depressed and debt-burdened States.

    Perry represents the will of the majority of Texans. If you don't like that, then run against him.

    July 8, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  2. Ann Terhune

    It would have been hard for him to have been much worse. Both Abbott and Dewhurst are equally awful.

    July 8, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  3. Ann Terhune

    Women in Texas lathe him.

    July 8, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Will Texas take an evolutionary step upward? So sad to see imbecilic knuckledragger Abbott waiting in the wings.

    July 8, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. Tracie McMillan

    Thank goodness!

    July 8, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Giina Brown

    Awww man, I really wanted to see Wendy Davis crush Rick Perry:-(

    July 8, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. frdms2thelft

    Republicans, especially Perry, are unfit to govern. They hate americans, they hate government. They want to do away with governemnt for the people by the people of the people. The only government they want is a corrupt machine that regulates citizens' personal lives in an effort to enforce their false morality, and a government that will unobstrively funnel money, and lots of it, into their corporate pockets. They don't give a darn about you or me or children or families or jobs or this country or infrastructure or the land nor global alliances.. They just care about making the rich richer at the expense of you and I. They care only about the money that they can put in their pockets now and to heck with future generations, the planet, and you. They profit from war and death and human suffering and environmental abuse.
    They are the american taliban and they are greedy cowards hiding behind the name of god and the colors of the flag. In any other place or time they would be known as criminals, for they are.

    July 8, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. Shan

    Being from Texas, I was so happy to read this. I shudder hearing it though, because he says he is going to work hard for the next 18 months... doing what??? Passing more legislation that is against women, working on his own personal religious beliefs. He will not work hard for Texas. That is why you are hearing the sigh of relief.

    July 8, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. Thaddeus Kozubal

    That is a refreshing announcement. Texas needs relief from oppression. What's next, Rick? Going swimming?

    July 8, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Mike

    Darnell, our state is doing just fine thank you. Especially once your thieving Enron criminals got put away for trying to screw us on energy deals.

    July 8, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    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!!!
    ------------------------–
    California was in bad financial straits when the former Republican governor left office. He implemented austerity, which only made matters even worse. Thousands of public sector jobs were lost, which rippled into the private sector as small businesses saw their numbers fall. The average salary fell, which meant state income taxes fell. Sales fell, which meant that sales tax revenue fell. So, he cut more spending, which made matters worse.

    California is a textbook example why austerity fails.

    July 8, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Thatguy371

    Good news, but TX being the dimicus-witicus capitol of the U.S. will elect another numbskull just as wacky. And in the meanwhile, he'll run for prez. (face palm)

    July 8, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    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....
    ----------------------
    Not exactly three times. The first term was a result of taking over for George W. Bush when he was elected POTUS.

    July 8, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  14. Bazinga

    He's crazy stupid, so will make a perfect republican president.

    July 8, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  15. Warren

    Does he really think he could be President? I doubt that a right winger like him would be elected to office.

    July 8, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. gmenfan54

    Perry is running for dog catcher instead.

    July 8, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. yogi

    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!!!
    -----–
    When you are done laughing and hitting the exclamation key, turn off Fox and get informed what is really going on in California, it is the opposite of bankruptcy.

    July 8, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Kamikaze

    What difference does it make. Texans will just vote in another religious fruit cake conservative. He was never the problem Texans are.

    July 8, 2013 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. craig

    So, we get to see a new GOP candidate who hates large government but wants to regulate women in every possible way. This should get interesting, since either the candidate must endorse Perry's history...and endure the wrath thereof, or distance themself from it, meaning he/she must appear more moderate...a difficult task given the Tea Party gang.

    July 8, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. larkwoodgirl

    Good riddance.

    July 8, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. i rayd84u

    i guess he learned you dont say stupid things about or to women after the last incident he didn't stand a snowball in hell chance of winning anything again.

    July 8, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Davyboy

    I'm a Texas Independent voter who has never voted for Ricky Boy. Glad to see him go and no way he will ever be President. Hope I didn't jinx myself as I said the same thing about current Prez.

    July 8, 2013 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. eric

    Perry has a chance at president only because outlets like CNN insist on giving him airtime.

    July 8, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. BDena

    You mean there is hope for us in Florida too?

    July 8, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. jdun

    Good Texas shouldn't have to go another 4 years without a leader.

    July 8, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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