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. Tom

    Very sorry to hear this. One less clown in the 2016 GOP circus. But I have confidence the Republicans will find someone equally crazy to fill the void.

    July 8, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  2. Grinning Libber

    Need more popcorn. Perry for POTUS again???? LOLOLOL

    July 8, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  3. Jdubba

    Awesome! If Perry runs for the White House in 2016, a silly waste of his money and everyone's time as there is no way he could ever be elected, that will trigger his fade into political oblivion. Maybe this latest round of anti-abortion lunacy has been a wake up call to women and progressives in Texas and the shift will come back to the middle a little bit.....wishful thinking but you can hope.

    How is it that the party of personal freedoms and small gov't, supposedly the Republican Party, has had it's entire founding ideolgy hijacked by right wing crazies, fiscall criminals, and religious wingnuts? The Republican ideal started out as a good thing....wow, has it ever come off the rails and turned in something awful for Americans. If you look at what Perry was gunning for, he literally wants Americans to be dumber, sicker, fatter, and poorer ( his campaign platform of eliminating the Depts. of Education, Interior, EPA, while telling Citizens to get off all gov't assistance in a poor economy). Is that what we want for American? Really? And for all the right wingers who foolishly believe that privitization of everything is the answer, let's see how that rolls when someone who puts profits over the actuarial value of human life gets to make a decision about you or your family's well being. I assure you that it won't be pretty.

    July 8, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. Aezelll

    God was just kidding last time he told you to run for President huh Perry?

    July 8, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Mister Rodgers

    Somewhere in Texas, an idiot is reunited with his village.

    July 8, 2013 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  6. emskadittle

    well i guess he will retire to ol N head ranch, until 2016

    July 8, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. ShawnDH

    Scared of Wendy Davis, eh?

    July 8, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  8. fedup Texan

    This man single handedly took me from a die hard republican to a liberal democrat. Good Riddance

    July 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. eclark

    Finally, some good news attached to his name. BYE!!!!!!

    July 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  10. RICH PERRY

    My new job at McDonald's came thru... I'm the spokesman for a newer generation, I am Ronald.

    July 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  11. Catherine

    I will be glad when he is gone. I just hope Texas doesn't end up with someone worse.

    July 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. Dallas

    While this is exciting news for those of us in Texas, we are now faced with another clown car of republicans wanting to be governor. I pray we can find a viable Democrat to run who has a chance in Red Texas. It sure sounded like Slick Rick is going to make another run at POTUS. He can join the already overflowing clown car that is waiting in the wings. My fear is Ted Cruz – a true bigot – who has the gift of gab but has the moral compass of a rattlesnake. I truly believe the Republicans only hope is Gov. Christie of New Jersey.

    July 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. SixDegrees

    No surprise here. Perry is done in Texas; his own party recently passed a two-term limit on the governorship that, although it excludes the current officeholder, was squarely aimed at Perry's ongoing incompetence and sheer stupidity. He would not only have kicked the intent of the bill in the face by running, but has lost the support of his own party, who are tired enough of being embarrassed by Perry that they decided term limits were better than risking a repeat of another populist idiot corroding their reach.

    July 8, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  14. Sick Rantorum

    Texas must feel like a pardoned Death Row Inmate. For years it looked bleak and now Texas has been given the the first steps in a direction of a new life.

    July 8, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  15. Mario

    Ya! Is time a Hispanic to for Governor of Texas. Mr. Castro get READY.

    July 8, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  16. mitchgam

    Now he can begin his Quixote like plan to win the Republican party nomination for the 2016 election and end the Republican party as a viable national party once and for all.

    July 8, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  17. stephen

    To bad, I like a good laugh every once in awhile. But this gives Texas a chance to come into the 21st century at last. Let's hope that happens.

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. nautiusm

    He's a good governor. He created a LOT of jobs in a time of economic down turn. I did not agree with some of his decisions, but by and large he has done good things for our state.

    I think it's funny how many people are down on him when they're not even residents of Texas.

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Texastea

    @The realist: Actually there has been a long-standing "rumor" that he was caught in bed with another man.

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  20. GTA

    Rick Perry running in 2016 is the perpetual wet dream of the Democratic Party. Perry will raise issues during the primary campaign(s) that his GOP opponents will have to address, no matter how outlandish or irrelevant.

    Now, if Santorum and/or Palin and/or Gingrich decide to have another shot, then things just get even better.

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  21. One L

    Smartest thing he's ever done so far – second smartest would be not run for president...

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  22. DustyOnes

    Kay Bailey Hutchison for Governor!

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  23. Mr. Flibble

    Yeah, he's not running because he's ticked off SOOOOOO many people in Texas, and in his own party, that they passed Gubernatorial Term Limits in Texas ... because of him. He's grandfathered into the old law but he knows there is no way in heck he can win a 4th term; that's why he's not running again. Even the Wing Nuts in Texas are tired of this guy; and that says a lot!

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. Ray

    Poor thang. He's got illusions of GRANDEUR!

    July 8, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Realist

    Well, he was the best Governor Texas ever had. Texas has the best economy in the country and hardly felt the recession. Bush was a good governor too, from an economics standpoint..

    Ann Richards was the WORST Governor in Texas history - her appointees were ALL ignorant democrat party hacks who nearly destroyed the state's economy.

    July 8, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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