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. Romney is STILL NOT My Hero

    Well Yeeee-hawwww!!! I'm so glad to hear it. Good riddance!

    July 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Allen Scott

    Thank Goodness he's not running in Texas again. The chance of him going for the Pres is zip The other 49 states saw how Dumb he was last time

    July 8, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  3. Chatter Guy

    Great news!

    July 8, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. jerry walters

    So Captain Dimentia is throwing in the towel ... the three departments I would cut immediately upon being elected President is the Dept of Education, The Dept of the Commerce and ... uh ... and .... uh ....

    Maybe he should have planned on keeping the education one around.

    What a dolt.

    July 8, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. Paul

    Maybe Texas can start moving out of the dark ages.

    July 8, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. dnsbubba

    I tend to steer clear of politics, except in certain key areas, but if Perry runs for President, I will do everything I can for ANY other candidate to ensure he doesn't win.

    July 8, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. fekt

    He needs the next three years to memorize three department names.

    July 8, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Greg Croft

    I was very happy when I read the headline. That changed after I read to third paragraph :(

    July 8, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. Mark

    I think Governor Perry will be the next President of Texas A&M before he tries again to run for President of these United States. Just a thought for all to think about.

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. vinster76

    Perry would make an outstanding president.....He is a man of character, grace, and dignity....If you don't agree with at least some semblance of that, you have none of those traits yourself....sorry, just sayin'

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. ShawnDH

    Three reasons Perry won't run:

    1) Wendy Davis
    2) Wendy Davis
    3) uhh. Oops.

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Sam Adams

    TX needs someone with more intelligence.

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Xplain_plz

    Bummer! Was looking forward to the Colbert Report if he had chosen to run.

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Tremendes

    Great news of the day.. Forget the Presidency, not smart enough, an idiot.. Fade away !!!

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. DaveinFlorida

    "Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history"

    What the hell is wrong with voters in Texas? And this is coming from a Floridian voter.

    July 8, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. PatSJ

    Oh, I sure hope not! Texas does not need that kind of negative publicity.

    July 8, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. OCCUPY WALLSTREET FOREVER

    If his GOP cronies didn't gerrymander the state, it would be under democrat control.

    July 8, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. JoshO

    Quick pole - Who has the best chance of being elected president?
    A. Rick Perry
    B. Tyler Perry
    C. Katy Perry
    D. Perry Mason

    July 8, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Sunnysmom

    Please, Governor, please run in 2016...SNL needs some new material.

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

    Perry is the longest serving governor in Texas history. He over stayed his welcome !

    The announcement by the Republican governor opens the door to speculation that Perry will make another bid for the White House, in 2016.

    CNN , please use the image of Rick Perry in his S&M Taxes A&M outfit , the one with him in boots and riding crop !

    Perry / Paul

    Aqua Buddha Buddies 2016

    July 8, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  21. Ace

    We hate you Rick.

    July 8, 2013 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. ShawnDH

    vinster76 wrote: "Perry would make an outstanding president.....He is a man of character, grace, and dignity....If you don't agree with at least some semblance of that, you have none of those traits yourself....sorry, just sayin'"
    ____________________

    Wow. You have extremely low standards. He's as dumb as a brick, has the charm of a snake and clearly has no actual values.

    July 8, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. ST

    I do not trust Perry. He is going to change his mind. He doing this to let what he has done on women be forgotten. He knows for sure people have short memories.

    July 8, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  24. Kelly Nowell

    And just like that, Texas will be blue next election...

    July 8, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  25. Scott

    @vinster76.....Are you kidding? Outstanding President? So in your book character, grace and dignity outweigh stupidity, extremism and intolerance let alone the screw everyone but the old white guys and the ignorants who follow them?

    July 8, 2013 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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