Perry says he's not focused on politics but fires
September 5th, 2011
08:24 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry says he's not focused on politics but fires

(CNN) – As wildfires continue to ravage the Texas landscape, presidential candidate Rick Perry said his mind is on the Lone Star State this week, not politics.

“I’m not paying any attention to politics right now,” the Texas governor said at a press conference in Bastrop County Monday. “There’s plenty of time to take care of that. People’s lives are in danger. That’s substantially more important.”

His statement was met with applause.

Perry is slated to attend his first 2012 GOP presidential debate Wednesday in California. While he canceled his California schedule for Tuesday, he didn’t indicate whether he’s still going to the debate later this week.

Perry skipped a Labor Day presidential forum in South Carolina earlier in the day to fly home and deal with the situation.

GOP Sen. Jim DeMint, who hosted the forum, said he was disappointed that Perry couldn’t make the event but understood the governor’s reason for canceling.

“I don’t blame him at all. I think he needed to be at home in Texas,” DeMint told CNN’s John King. “He promised to make up for it by doubling his commitment in South Carolina, so we’ll work through that.”

Due to an historic drought coupled with high winds, Texas has been fighting a relentless battle with wildfires since the season began in November.

A record 3.5 million acres – roughly the size of Connecticut - have been destroyed, marking the worst wildfire season the state has ever experienced.

“I’ve seen a number of big fires in my life,” Perry said. “This one is as mean-looking as I’ve ever seen.”

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • Texas
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Wise1Speak


    (1.) – I am not belittling the Texas fire situation, but surely 'Slick Rick' could have introduced himself to America at the South Carolina forum and then got the next flight back to Texas.

    (2.) – So far Rick Perry has FAILED the first test of being a President. Slick Rick could not simultaneously walk and chew gum.

    (3.) – President Obama multi-task everyday. Obama was supporting Irene pounded New Jersey yesterday, and today he was supporting economically hard-hit Detroit.

    September 5, 2011 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  2. hss

    I am surprised that he has not called GOD to put down the fires. He prayed for rain before.

    September 5, 2011 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  3. The Elephant in The Room

    His statement is nothing but political.

    He didn`t want to face questions in South Carolina. He doesn`t honestly think that spending an extra 6 hours in Columbia SC would make a difference, does he?

    It`s not like macho-man Perry puts on a fire suit, carries an axe and scales a ladder to save old ladies. I`m willing to bet Perry ducks out on as many debates as possible. Skipping SC under this ruse sets him up to blow off the one later this week and early next week.

    September 5, 2011 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  4. Ron

    I guess since prayer didn't work, Perry might consider restoring some of the money he cut from fire fighting budgets?

    September 5, 2011 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  5. Aaron

    We'll see how long his no politics stance lasts. Wonder if he's going to demand the federal aid that he so despises for the latest Texas disaster.

    September 5, 2011 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  6. Larry L

    These fires are a good example of the sort of crisis for which we depend u[pon the federal government for help. The required response capability far exceeds the powers of the individual states and the impact must be diluted across the risk pool. This same need is true for national defense, healthcare, Social Security, and major infrastructure programs. When Governor Perry and his right-wing coherts talk about "states rights" they really mean "we want no restrictions but we wants lots of benefits". It doesn't work like that and Governor "Good Hair" now quietly throws himself on the mercy of FEMA and all of the agencies he's slammed during his recent campaign for governor and now as a presidential hopeful. All of the "red states" would be third-world cesspools in ten years without the strength of the Federal Government.

    September 5, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  7. Tony 140

    Might be a lesson in Leadership 101 for this Administration. Politics should not be the primary focus of our elected leaders – the good of their constituents and country should be. However, Community organizers and Ivy League academics do not understand what leadership is. Ask any military man or woman and they can tell you.

    September 6, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  8. drogo, the stallion that mounts the world almost

    Don't believe it. Just more pandering from a former Democrat.

    September 6, 2011 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  9. just checking

    To see if he will use government resources to help the state? He along with his teabaggers don't like the idea of spending money to help...people in need. It will be interesting to see how he handles this....As he is Mr. Anti-Govn. and Bachman is Miss ANTI=Govn.spending except in her case with Farm Subsidy, Free Health Care for her family, Clinic Subsidy for her husbands so-called clinic....She seems pretty needy when it comes to her family. They make a good pair, Mr. Succesionist.

    September 6, 2011 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  10. Cstar

    Perhaps Gov. Perry should reconsider running, after all such a thing takes a great deal to focus on and he surely cannot do the job properly that the people of Texas deserve of their governor during such a time as this.

    September 6, 2011 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  11. thomas

    Perry viewed the fire from the air and conferred with local officials. He said seeing the fire was a "surreal" experience.
    "I've seen a number of big fires in my life," he said. "This is as mean looking as I've ever seen, particularly because it was so close to the city."

    Sounds like Bush , Katrina

    September 6, 2011 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  12. Vynn

    What!?!? You mean God completely ignored your prayers about this? He even sent a tropical depresion dumping tons of water and it completely missed the state of Texas? Rick....what did you do to piss God off this much?

    September 6, 2011 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  13. "The GOP biggest deception is getting the Poor and Middle class to believe they are out to help them"

    I bet he will not be at the debate on Thursday.

    September 6, 2011 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  14. Smitty

    Guess he's gonna run home, stall around, figure out some talking points for Wedsday, than hit Obama on his hot line, beg him to send some aid and help, come Wedsday talk crazy about Obama getting into Texas business cause Texas don't need help!!!! #twofacegopcandidates

    September 6, 2011 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  15. Marie MD

    I feel sorry for those Texans who are going through this terrible time.
    On the other hand, isn't perrycase going to do some praying for rain again? Yes, fires are mean. Meanlooking? I don't get that one.

    September 6, 2011 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  16. taylor

    he doesnt want to show how stupid and ignorant he is, but he has great hair, boyhowdy and
    i mean!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 6, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  17. SiriusVH

    I would not be entirely surprised if, in the end, Perry discretely asked for help from the Federal government through FEMA or otherwise ....

    September 6, 2011 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  18. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So if he were elected president, and there was another 9/11 attack, he could only do one thing at a time? I don't see any pictures of him with a shovel helping to put out the fires. Why not?

    September 6, 2011 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  19. Irrma in North Carolina

    What does Perry think he can put the fires out him self. Or is he going to ask the government for help. which he always is putting down.

    September 6, 2011 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  20. Dave

    I wonder if Perry will accept any Federal funds for the clean-up and rebuilding efforts.

    September 6, 2011 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  21. Sandy

    He's running scared! Fires have been raging for how long now and NOW he feels he needs to be in Texas?

    September 6, 2011 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  22. Cigarman

    Slick Rick is just like Palin, anything to get out of a debate. Have you noticed that until now Slick Rick has not been concerned about TEXAS BURNING? The Debate is getting closer and he is going to not show up. Palin will not say whether she is running or not, because if she is running, she will be expected to debate. These two are two peas in a pod.Neither one of them has a real brain. Is McDonalds hiring.

    September 6, 2011 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  23. beevee

    Now this guy opens his eyes about the fires in Texas. He was fiddling around the country to become president of the US when Texas really needed him to take of the fires. useless fellow.

    September 6, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  24. Thomas

    What an excuse this is!! He can have his assistants take care of the stove, he got himself out of a firestorm he couldn't handle.

    September 6, 2011 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
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