July 8th, 2013
02:17 PM ET
9 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. Jim

    Please run for POTUS. We need some comedic relief. Now if only we can get Trump and Palin to run, we will hit the trifecta! With those three running, it will be a laugh a minute!

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

    One of the least-intelligent people to ever be elected to public office.

    Goodbye moron.

    July 8, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. bill

    Perry is a complete joke and he has made Texas the laughing stock of the Union. Texas is revolting against this moron and it's too bad Perry will not run again because he would surely get a beating by Texans who are tired of the GOP representing our state.

    July 8, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. TomGI

    Rick, please oh please run for president. And make Ted Cruz (the habitual liar) your VP candidate.

    July 8, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Jimmy Gadfly

    "mantle of leadership"

    Ha that's a good one

    July 8, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Julie

    Well he doesn't need to run again, he's already secured a place for himself in history as one of the most stupid, backwards governors in TX history. Modern history at least.
    There was a time when TX produced some great politicians, statesmen. Those days seem to be gone. The state seems to be increasingly ruled by theocrats and flatearthers. They aren't alone. We have a large contingent of people in this country who'd like to see things run by the Christian equal of the Muslim Brotherhood.
    If we don't stamp 'em out, the US will just be running on the fumes of it's heyday, another Roman empire slouching towards the gutter.
    people like Perry will take us there.

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. DC

    Good riddance to one of the most delusional and dangerous politicians out there. And SHAME ON YOU to Texans who either voted for him or didn't bother to vote at all and let this clown nearly destroy your state and make it an even bigger laughing stock than it was when you elected Bush as your leader. What's in the water down there, anyway?

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. glorydays

    Wreck the state and get out fast.

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. bill

    Hey Perry, don't let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you!!!

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. toughcool

    Do I like the guy? No
    Do I like his policies all the time? No
    Do I think he is a smart guy? No
    But overall the State of Texas and its major cities have been tops in the economic food chain for years and years now and business and costs of living are major plusses. So I can't say he has done a bad job.

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Michael in Houston

    Yes...by all means....go forth and demonstrate on a National level what a lousy leader you are capable of being. By the way Gov....running for the Presidency is supposed to be about leading a Nation....not just leading your rapidly shrinking base of supporters.

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  12. kirby

    Greg Abbott is worst...!! New voice same message............................

    July 8, 2013 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  13. Bill

    This is one door knob we don't need anywhere near the White House unless he is a civilian visiting.

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Jen

    About damn time..... he was Govenor when I left TX in 2001!

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Gene2

    Actually, he took a pass on the mantle of leadership his first day in office.

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Leftcoastrocky

    Governor Wendy Davis has a nice ring to it.

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Complete ignorance

    Great, now if can convince his colleagues in the circus called the GOP.

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. Snarky MacFee

    God is good.

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. gdwhite85

    This is just a clear indicator of what is going on in the Republican party.......All the wing nuts are leaving because they know they can't win anymore....the country is fed up w/ this radical BS and want politicians that will just do their jobs.....

    July 8, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. lkinaustin

    Oh, hallelujah!!! It's a GREAT day in Texas!!! I'm so happy! HOWEVER, I have no doubt that this egotistical jerk fully believes he has a chance at the White House. DO NOT VOTE FOR THIS MAN!!!!

    July 8, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Leftcoastrocky

    Perry, there is still time for you to orchestrate Texas' secession from the U.S.

    July 8, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Russ139

    Tomorrow, he's announcing that he's running for a new position: President of Texas.

    July 8, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. Jim

    nautiusm – Yeah, he can really take credit for all those jobs created. The guy is as smart as a wet sock. He probably couldn't even find Egypt on a map.

    July 8, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. mike0404

    Palin, Bachmann, and now Perry; what will we do for entertainment.

    July 8, 2013 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. USVET

    Now we need to work on making sure that other Republican jerks that support anti-choice do not fill the void created by the current regime of psuedo-science spouting religious folllowers. Perry, Dewhurst, Laubenberg, and others of their ilk, are proof that politicians need to be limited in the scope of their powers.

    July 8, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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