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Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal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

    No wonder, his college avg was 2.50 (Texas A&M)... That's a C close to D, no Master's degree. It truly reflected on his debates.

    October 26, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  2. Rick Perry - We are not going to get fooled again

    Last time the country elected a swaggering Texas cowboy who shoots from the hip, it didn’t work out very well. Remember the worst terrorist attack in American history, two failed wars, massive debts, a financial collapse, a housing collapse, rising unemployment, falling wages, $5 gas, and a warming planet? Bush has all but guaranteed we will not elect another Texas politician. “There's an old saying in Tennessee – I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee – that says, fool me once, shame on – shame on you. Fool me – you can't get fooled again.” George W. Bush (September 17, 2002)

    October 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Rudy NYC

    thomas wrote:
    I AGREE with Perry on this. These "debates" have been "jury-rigged" from the beginning....and have served more to "manipulate" the voting Public that to inform them.
    Is that a fact? So, what you are saying is that when Perry had the microphone time he really wasn't speaking freely and not of his own volition? That all of that hemming and hawing, "uhs" and "duhs", mumbles and jumbles that came out of Rick Perry's mouth was actually Industrial Light and Magic? Shazzam! Imagine that.

    October 26, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Clown Car Reps

    He regrets being in the debates. He hasnt had to do them before and he cant handle them pressure. Actual debate and meeting of the minds, as it were are too much for him. Now is everyone getting the idea why they call Bush the smart one when compared to this clown?

    October 26, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. james

    You know what Rick? If you can't beat the kook-balls like Michelle Bachmann, the used-car-salesmen like Romney, and the other has-beens in a GOP debate, how do you think you'll beat Barack in one?

    October 26, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. ricnaustin

    Perry has done ZERO that has been good for Texans except for people who front BIG $$ to Perry. As Agriculture Commissioner, he wrote deadbeat loans for farmers in the negative; then as Governor he had to bail out the loans he created. I'll stop there, because the rest of his record grades "F." He has been elected and re-elected out of the fact that he has an uncanny ability to raise funds, and b/c he's a Republican in Texas.

    As for his debating skills, if anybody should be a professional debater, it should be Perry. He's the one with 20 years in politics. ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE. He's pathetic, and it finally has come to the forefront. I seriously doubt he'll even be re-elected as Governor. THANK GOD!!!

    Texan here....

    October 26, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  7. William

    What Perry is really saying is that he doesn't have the intellectual capacity to coherently debate or articulate a view or position in a public setting, Now that is terrifying given that we had Bush for eight years. He has avoided debates in all of his races because he comes across as an imbecile, which most of us in Texas already recognize as a fact. In order to run for the office of the President, I want to know whether the candidate is articulate, intelligent, coherent and well versed on a wide range of issues. I don't want another yahoo in office that cannot communicate effectively. I want to see how the candidate presents him or herself before an audience. I want to know whether he or she is able to convey a though in a clear and concise manner that satisfies the American public, or he or she needs to get out of the race. There is no room for childish rhetoric because the United States has to maintain a credible reputation within the international community or become increasingly marginalized.

    October 26, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  8. Cedar Rapids

    so Perry complains about the media wanting to stir things up between candidates and then he goes on to launch an attack on Romney. Is this guy for real?

    And try asking Cain if he has had an issue with the debates, I bet you get a different answer.

    October 26, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  9. J.T.

    Based on the Republican candidates who are in the race so far, President Obama should get reelected quite easily...

    October 26, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Mr. Perry has been governor of Texas since December of 2000. If I did not research this, I would have never believed that this guy has been governor for over a decade. Can't make this stuff up.

    October 26, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. George

    The only thing Richard "Dick" Perry regrets is looking the fool on national TV.....
    I believe he is more of a Sharon Angle type of politician, have the media ask the right questions....
    What a noob

    October 26, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Most of the GOP candidates are use to softball questions.

    October 26, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  13. Juanita

    LOL! Mr. Perry, if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. This guy is a wimp who packs a sidearm to compensate for his lack of cajones.

    October 26, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Joe in Dallas

    Look at the guy. He's Bush #3. Same arrogance. Same smirk while waiting for audience response to his statements.

    The only difference between him and GWB is GWB was the smart one. 'Nuff said.

    October 26, 2011 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Obama 2012

    Hey slick're on the national stage now. Now you can't say I won't debate because your opponent won't release his tax returns or you won't talk to editoral boards who don't throw you soft ball questions. Now the rest of the world will see how shallow you are.

    October 26, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  16. coy4one

    Does not matter what Perry says or does not say. Take it from me, a Texan, he is going to say one thing now, but when he gets into office, you can expect the opposite.

    October 26, 2011 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Jay

    Great! No more debates for Perry. Let's have Governor Gary Johnson take Perry's space on the podium in the next debate. Step up CNN! Let Gary Debate!

    October 26, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. boehnersux

    I'll bet there are some people that regret donating money to this pretenders campaign!

    October 26, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. boehnersux

    To make things worse, Perry as incompetent as he is may be just a little smarter than George W Bush. How this country made it through 8 years with that Bozo at the helm is truly a miracle.

    October 26, 2011 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  20. Al

    Anyone notice how Rick Perrry likes to choose only friendly audiences to speak to? He's done that for years in Texas. In the 2010 gubenatorial race, he refused to debate any other candidates.......his way of sealing himself from criticism of being the neanderthal that he is. As President, he would probably pick and choose which heads of state to meet with......given that they can pray from the same bible.

    October 26, 2011 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  21. Gloria

    Rick Perry must think that a person running for President shouldn't have to debate or face any questions concerning his/her stance on the issues. He appears to me to be a bully and a extreme right-wing nut who would be very dangerous indeed anywhere near the White House.

    October 26, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Gloria

    I meant "an" extreme...

    October 26, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. Kipper

    We ALL regret you participating in the debates Rick.

    October 26, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  24. Ann

    He never debated his opponent, White . We knew he was the weakest link between the candidates for gov. But that $$$$lobbiest bathe him in got him in. Does the nation want MUCH lower student rankings, minimum wages, and no health benefits. Jobs are laughable– there are not any in TX unless you into his oil friends companies. –Vote for Perry
    and have the religious right values stuff down your throats. Perry's your man.

    October 26, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  25. Andrew Duncanson

    Nobody is surprised by this. Rick Perry is a Tea Party puppet. Advisers should speak for him and be in the TV ads since Perry is hopeless.

    His new senior advises Tony Fabrizio helped Rick Scott in Florida buy the election for Governor using the same lame promises of creating a zillion jobs. It was a complete lie. No new jobs were created. Fraudulent behavior.

    We can no longer trust anything that the Republican candidates have to offer.

    Rick Perry is now a complete puppet just saying what he is told by his advisers. His advisers recommend that he stop any new tax on the rich, stop environmentalist who want clean air and oceans because he is supported by the coal and oil industries.

    The Catholic Church promote the Tea Party movement because they do not believe a woman has a right to make a choice. The Republicans and Tea Party are out to kill any program for the needy, education, unemployed and homeless. Is this being American? No. Treason
    The GOP candidates are lost in the Twilight Zone chanting tax the poor, remove benefits to the needy, the homeless, and for education

    October 26, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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