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. mikeinmiami

    This bobble head is going to run for president now!

    July 8, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  2. Ben

    As a Texan... thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!

    July 8, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Brandon

    So glad is not running again!!!! He is an embarrassment.

    July 8, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Mike

    WHY? i aint voting no more now :(

    July 8, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. Matma01

    There is a GOD!!!!

    July 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Dave

    I am a conservative in Texas, but not a huge Perry fan, although he is light years ahead of and better than Gov Ann Richards, thus I am glad we will be looking at a new Republican governor at next election.

    For the unaware democrat (especially those not familiar with Texas politics), you do realize that until late 1989 Perry was a life long democrat; his family (father, grandfather, etc.) were life long politically active democrats; he was even a key member in Al Gores 1988 campaign. Outside of religious beliefs (which many democrats hold strong as well), he is a slightly right leaning moderate. His main reason for changing party was to further his political career in Texas.

    July 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. HenryMiller

    Good! Texas didn't need that bible-thumping jerk.

    July 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  8. BriSoFla

    Nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, GOOOOOOD BYE!
    What a horrible man! Glad he's going AWAY!
    Bah BYE!

    July 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. untaimed18

    And the world takes a collected sigh of relief.

    July 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. t3chn0ph0b3

    I so hope he totally goes down in flames running for the presidency. This guy deserves every single major knock life can throw at a politician. Scumbag.

    July 8, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. brooks wetsel

    Hopefully he runs for president again so the people who didn't see what an embarrassment he was to Texas last time, can see for themselves what a truly unqualified person looks like. Maybe he will retire so he can spend his time with his guns and bible.

    July 8, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. JohnRJohnson

    Rick Perry - the only man in the country who could make George W. Bush look like a thoughtful genius.

    July 8, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Traveler

    Perry running for President again would be a great gift to the Democrats!

    July 8, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. Mateo

    Now I know there's a God.

    July 8, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. dsk1659

    This good news. Looking forward to new blood.

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Steveo

    @Al-NY,NY

    here is your chance Texas.....either stick with the fantasy-land policies of Perry or vote for a person who actually uses their brain. And by the way......Rick.....go ahead and try again for the GOP nomination. I'd even contribute to your campaign to get you the nod. Only to watch you lose one of the most lopsided elections ever
    --------------------------
    Save your rmoney. He's not going to win!

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Sue

    There is a God!! About time. Now, where's Kinky Friedman???

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. Dell Jackson

    Good Bye and good riddance!...

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  19. Steve - Dallas

    Yay! Good riddance. But that means we'll be stuck with the equally odious Greg Abbott.

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Jerry

    Well there is some good news now can a Texas please not go for the trifect and elect a smart person to be governor.

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. judith

    So, We The People, will be subjected to this bully again? Wonderful! So NOT

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. bluewomanredstate

    Hallelujah

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Sheila

    Wendy Davis!! Another liberal making up a cause! She is too dumb to realize that Perry was giving her a compliment when he told about her history. Liberals!

    July 8, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. Bzarr

    As long as he stays in texas, WHO CARES!

    July 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Kris

    Please, PLEASE run! The comedy world needs you.

    July 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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