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Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal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

    That's a mouthful coming from an attack dog who has done more than anyone to "stir things up" during the debates.

    October 26, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Mike S.

    Why shucks pardner, you shouldn't have to be in the debates! Just show Americans your big scary gun and your bright shiney cross, and they'll swallow the whole bit hook, line and sinker!

    October 26, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Frank S

    That is vintage Perry. If you have problems debating, the obvious solution is to find a way to not debate! Hey, it worked in his last election in Texas, where he successfully avoided debating his Democratic opponent in the Governor's race by trumping up demands for his income tax, and when that was provided, adding more conditions until the election happened, problem solved! What a fine commander in chief this guy would make. NOT!!!!

    October 26, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  4. Texas Annie

    Tricky Ricky was able to bamboozle the nitwit voters of this state in the last Governor's race by never participating in a debate. I couldn't believe anybody would be so stupid as to vote for someone who was afraid to step up in the debates, but darned if they didn't, and they voted this sucker back in office. So I guess he figures if he could bamboozle the voters in Texas, then maybe he could do it nationally too. Believe me folks, you do NOT want this man in office anywhere. I'm a 5th generation Texan, and I'm appalled at how this man has conducted himself as our Governor. He is a shameless liar & an empty suit. His main concern is how he & his buddies can benefit from whatever shady deal he can pull off.

    October 26, 2011 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  5. OSU

    Rick, keep talking! America wants to hear about your problems.

    October 26, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |

    Both parties have this same complaint. Rarely, if ever, does anything of substance come primary debates. The debates are setup to stir up controversy and division amongst the candidates. But the candidates are not exempt from blame either. They ARE often asked some serious policy questions, but usually aren't interested in laying out their plans – or they don't quite yet have any. So they choose to answer a question that wasn't asked or ramble about some other issue, which often involves attacking their counterparts.

    October 26, 2011 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. gg

    the oil companys love this nit-wit

    October 26, 2011 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. JD

    In the last Texas Governor's race Perry refused to debate Democrat Bill White , a Harvard Grad and Law review editor of the University of Texas Law school. Perry dodged White because he knew he would get shredded in a debate with a person of supreme intellect. So, yeah, Perry regrets participating in the GOP debate because he exposed his limited brainpower.

    October 26, 2011 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. Reggie from LA

    The problem with any of them at any given time is that they are out of step with the flow of what is needed in America. They got to where they are by pandering to popular outcries, often from people who have no idea what they are whining about. Then they stand on the debate stage because they "wanna be a president". Gingrich has a brain, but it's marred by arrogance and condescension for most other human beings. Santorum is just angry. Paul, well, almost decent. Bachmann, beast, period. Both sides of the aisle need to see them for who they really are even though some think its a travesty. They shouldn't be allowed to hide their skeletons. Get up on the debate stage or no world stage for you.

    October 26, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Fed Up

    Today the Dallas Morning News ran a story that Perry has been giving Tx. illegals tax dollars to go to college in Tx. So far almost 8 million dollars. It's called Tx. Grants. What a sorry Hypocrite!

    October 26, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  11. Greg

    If Perry decides to skip a bunch of debates, it will kill him. He either needs to debate well or take a hike. Hiding out is never the quality you want from a leader.

    October 26, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  12. Bob D.

    I can see why he'd want to side-step the "birther" conspiracy thing. Seems his "parents" really adopted him as a new born from an unmarried illegal couple that they employed on their Texas homestead. The mid-wife who delivered the baby in a back room in the Perry's barn falsified the birth certificate. wasn't that fun.

    October 26, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Leon

    Rick your obnoxious ego is almost as disgusting as Obama's

    October 26, 2011 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Perry is unfit as a candidate or any elected office in United States of America. His deep religious convictions and his religious adviser's are anti-semites (Bickle)and tell of a 2nd holocaust for the Jew's. Pastor Mike Bickle also says he thinks the "Jews have it coming"
    If Perry respects his religious beliefs and his church advisors, then he is unfit to lead anything.

    October 26, 2011 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  15. BJ Bell

    My big regret - that we ever have to see this guy in the media.

    October 26, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  16. cgs

    Perry was okay with me until he was so rude in the last debate. Totally turned me off!

    October 26, 2011 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. NukeTim

    Has-been, with no talent whatsoever. Couldn't hold any job because he isn't trained in anything but poloticking. Sad.

    October 26, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  18. Judas

    Just one regret, Rick? Come now, you’re not even trying. You’re an intellectual lightweight that’s playing way out his league, even among that sorry bunch of clowns you’re competing against. Take your arrogant oversized ego back to Texas where your Elmer Gantry routine seems to work so well for you and your kool-aid swilling sycophants.

    October 26, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Izzy

    Amen. ...and very sad.

    October 26, 2011 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. G D

    It's a lot easier to be dumb in private, than to be on a National stage & prove it to everyone.

    October 26, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  21. Ken

    He is SO like Sarah! She,too, had difficulty answering those really tough questions like "Which newspapers do you read?" Give it up now before you disgrace yourself with anything more – like revisiting the Birther Movement!

    October 26, 2011 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. No more dumb Texans!

    So his answer to not looking dumb in a debate is to stay out of them? Brilliant thinking, Einstein. Stay in Texas where wealthy corporate CEOs and oilmen will show you the love. Don't worry, they'll have enough money left over to get some other GOP stooge, like Romney, into the White House to do their bidding.

    October 26, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. Tex71

    Ah nevah shoulda dunnit. Ah KNEW Ah was gonna git clobbered bah them pansies. But Ah diddit anyway. Guess Ah must be dumbern Ah look.

    October 26, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  24. Ed Zachary

    He lost me even before he started the campaign when he did that big religious tent show in the stadium, and he confirmed it for me completely when he brought up Obama's birth certificate again this past week. He can find tune his message all he wants, I don't want a Bible thumping birther sitting in the White House, and that's what he is. Adjusting his pitch won't change that.

    October 26, 2011 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  25. Gary

    Dumber than Bush and as paranoid as Palin. Goodbye Rick.

    October 26, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
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