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. tony

    Al Queda would probably welcome him to run for VP of their Womens' Heath and Education ministry

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  2. John

    Dear Rick, please see Sara Palin. She writes her talking points on her hand and she can show you how to do it too. It might come in handy in the next debate. Especially if you forget the third big thing you would do if elected POTUS. Goodbye and good ridance.

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  3. Wake up People!

    Does he really think HE has a shot at being POTUS??? The male Sarah Palin...???

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  4. datawrecker

    Perry is only about the short term goals. He got the state to the top of the heap so he can run for POTUS. He propped Texas up with tooth picks and is trying to get out before the whole thing collapses in his lap.

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. us_1776

    Perry had a polling sample taken and it showed Wendy Davis would crush him in any election.

    .

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. PeterD

    He can be a better President than what we have now Scandal-In-Chief Barack Obama.

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. ben

    All these comments are focusing on the social issues of his tenure. That;'s just dumb. Focus on the economy. Focus on the growth Texas has sustained while the rest of the nation has yet to return to mid-2000's form. Focus on the sheer number of companies that are moving to Texas and providing you people with jobs because of Perry's legislation.

    July 8, 2013 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. DARNELL

    I live in Texas, I'm a high school dropout and I make six figures. You can talk trash about Rick Perry all you want, but his policies help to make Texas an AWESOME state compared to the liberal blue cesspool states!

    July 8, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  9. Mel

    The only problem I can see is that this consummate ignoramus goes into overtime during his final months to push even more repressive legislation on the poor folks of Texas. Just disappear like W has, Rick and you'll earn a lot respect from all of us.

    July 8, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  10. Goobernatorial

    He already tried to run for president and failed, pulled out before it got too heavy. Glad that he'll be leaving TX, not sure anyone better will replace him. They are all crooked, left and right.

    July 8, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. Owl Creek Observer

    Sure didn't take the liberal hate brigade long to jump all over this one.

    July 8, 2013 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. rosethornne

    Good riddance

    July 8, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. ErnieS

    Read my Lips... "No New Texans" ™

    July 8, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    This is either good news for Texas, or bad news for the rest of us as he runs for POTUS again.

    July 8, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. prufie

    As one of millions of Texans who have suffered for years under this jackanapes (and voted, many times, for his opponents), all I can say is WHEW and GOOD RIDDANCE.

    July 8, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. MrBeenThere

    See there is a GOD.............

    July 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. TheVoice2

    He's created the most minimum wage jobs for his state. Ranked amongst the worse in U. S. in education, health care access and quality, and labor rights. If that's what you want for you and your children, then Texas is your state!

    July 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Yay! Yay! Yeah, run for president again so the whole world can see how really stupid you are!!!!

    July 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. MikeyZ

    Well that's a bummer. I wanted Wendy Davis to wipe the floor with him.

    July 8, 2013 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. liberal hypocrite = redundancy

    Best governor in the U.S. bar none. You should be so lucky that he would be President. He can finally correct all the problems that Obama and Clinton(s) have created in their scheme to destroy this country.

    July 8, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  21. evdebs

    "Leadership?"

    "Oops!"

    July 8, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  22. bobby frank

    Get ready for more OOPS moments folks....He is not getting any younger or smarter so expect little change. Clinton will really make him look like a fool this time around.

    July 8, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  23. bambee

    The last Governor of Texas to become President of the United States did a heck of a job keeping us safe, as long as you don't count one day in September of 2001.

    Perry/Jindal 2016 "Fracking Over America"

    July 8, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  24. rchenkle

    Good move governor. Finally got one thing right.

    July 8, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Reasonable Republican

    Thank God. Rick can go embarrass himself on a national stage, instead of in the name of Texas

    July 8, 2013 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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