Perry expresses regret over taking part in debates
October 25th, 2011
10:43 PM ET
9 years ago

Perry expresses regret over taking part in debates

(CNN) - GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry said if he had made any mistakes thus far in the campaign, it was "probably ever doing one of the" debates.

"All they’re interested in is stirring it up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people," Perry said on Fox News Tuesday.

Answering criticism over his debate performances, the Texas governor has repeatedly said Americans weren't looking for the "slickest" candidate or the smoothest debater in the race.

Perry, who rolled out his flat-tax plan Tuesday in South Carolina, again said he used the wrong word when describing people who disagreed with him on immigration as "heartless."

He first dialed back his remark in late September after facing a strong reaction from within the GOP.

Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal immigrants at public universities.

In the interview Tuesday, Perry also took a shot at former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who sparred with Perry during the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate last week in Las Vegas.

Continuing his attack on Romney as a flip-flopper, Perry said: "In his own words, he says 'Listen, I need to say whatever I need to say for whatever office I'm running for'."

Also see:

Perry to meet with S.C. governor

Perry on Obama: 'It's fun to poke at him'

Perry to meet with DeMint

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry
soundoff (437 Responses)
  1. maggie

    If Perry can't deal with a debate amongst his peers, he's a loser. I seem to recall that he wasn't shy about lunging after Romney. he didn't have to of course.

    October 26, 2011 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  2. buckup

    if he becomes prez, debates will become illegal by presidential fiat.
    problem fixed, death penalty attached

    October 26, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  3. badcyclist

    He wants to talk about the real issues that matter to the American people– like President Obama's birth certificate.

    October 26, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  4. Bev

    perry is the most honest candadate PERRY 2012

    October 26, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  5. Mitch

    Yeah, we need this guy in the White House. Just make sure he never has to say anything.

    October 26, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  6. Meg McKeever

    The debates show us [the voters] if you are ready to lead, and are therefore constructive, even if you don't get a chance to expound at lenghth on your policies, Mr. Perry

    October 26, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. Meg McKeever

    If you can't handl the debates, how will you handle that 3 am phone call?

    October 26, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  8. jk from MN

    Did you really think the American public would embrace you without knowing where you stand on issues? What planet are you from?

    October 26, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama


    perry is the most honest candadate PERRY 2012
    Perry said you were a stellar "spellar".

    October 26, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  10. Jay in Montana

    Whatever Texas Toast has to say, he can't become president of the United States. I have to believe that, because I have to believe that my fellow Americans are, as a group, not morons.

    October 26, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. shawn

    Rick, you are too mentally weak to debate anyone. Go Home and Stay Home!!!!!!

    October 26, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. dennis freeman

    I don't blame him. He has incoherent thoughts, stumbles over his rehearsed lines and can't seem to handle being challenged or asked a meaningful question. Stick a fork in him, he's done.

    October 26, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Jeff in TX

    This is a joke. All he wants is to stand casually with one foot on a haybale in his chinos and wax poetic. Or fire a gun into the air. Or criticize foreign policy, which he knows nothing about. Or make some bizarre string of statements about immigration. Or babble on a a neobirther. Wasn't HE the one hammering Romney in the last debate? I think that was HIS CHOICE. You'll see ultra-negative ads from Perry very soon. That's his MO. No need to waste time actually facing his critics or trying to discuss policy when you can go supernegative on tv.

    October 26, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Meg McKeever

    If you can't handl the debates, how will you handle that 3 am phone call?
    Easy. Phone off the hook.

    October 26, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  15. Jewgirl

    The man is a joke! What is his plan when he has to engage other Heads of State...point his finger and say it is a mistake to be here. The only reason that he has gone this far is because he refused debates in Texas. And by the way, I am a Texan who did not ever vote for him. I am embarrassed that he calls himself a Texan.

    October 26, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. obandon

    He needs to fade away into the background. If you can't take the heat don't jump into the fire. Ugh, imagine if he actually made it to President and we had to listen to his whiney wife too. He probably would get into fist fights with the leaders of other countries who dared to have a difference of opinion, or he would whine about how they have no respect for him. He is scary. The whole GOP field is scary. Sad.

    October 26, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. normajean @ verizon ,com

    Their egos would not let them miss a debate.....all they want to do is glorify themselves. Most of them don't say anything of value anyway.This clown has had his cowboy boots in his mouth from the very first and proceeded to lie about what he has done untill everyone now knows him well enough to not like him. Texans are praying he disappears.!!!

    October 26, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Stan

    Honest?... without the debates the public probably would not have heard about his belief in Social Security being a Ponzi scheme. People have a right to know where a candidate stands. That's scary if he wants to be a stealth candidate and still hope to be president.

    October 26, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. ClydeTheSlyde

    George W. set the bar low, Perry has managed to limbo under it!

    October 26, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. C. Sanders

    Thank goodness people outside of Texas are smarter than we are in Texas. I didn't vote for Perry, but it astounds me Texans keep him. Just he'll be withdrawing from debating altogether. Don't fall for it! He just doesn't want you to see how dumb he is.

    October 26, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. debbie

    No, Mr. Perry, that's not what the debates do. It's just that you are such a buffoon that the outcome is guaranteed. Step away right now. We don't exactly want to keep you in Texas either, but somehow you managed to get enough votes. (Credit that to the bunch of idiots that reside in this state) Stop making a complete fool of yourself and start getting Texas in order. thank you

    October 26, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. Karrie

    He may have all the best intentions, but the debates prove he's not the brightest bulb in the box, and the job of President is just too far above his I.Q.

    October 26, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. ithink122

    "I shouldn't have to defend my policy ideas in a debate with other candidates! THAT'S COMMUNISM/SOCIALISM/SOMETHING ELSE THAT SOUNDS BAD! In fact, why even have an election? ELECTIONS ARE UN-AMERICAN! Let's just skips the whole thing and make me president!"

    October 26, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  24. DavidE7

    I am not a Perry supporter, but absolutely agree with him that the way the debates are held is a disgrace. I believe that the media exist to serve the American people, not brainwash them, and feel that those who own the media should be held accountable to the American people.

    October 26, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  25. Ron

    And if nominated as the GOP candidate, Perry vows not to debate Obama. "After all, why should I have to stand on a stage and explain anything to anyone about anything? Just trust me, I'm really, really, really smart, articulate, knowledgable, charming and honest. Honest."

    October 26, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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