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Perry originally made the comment at the Fox News/Google debate in Florida after taking heat for signing off on a Texas law that allows tuition credits to certain illegal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

    Right Rick.......being President doesn't require you to face any tough questions..........You are in WAY over your head admit it

    October 26, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  2. Ancient Texan

    Perry has always been at his best in speech mode and never wanted to debate in his governor's races. Some folks are good in debates and some are not. Ability to debate and ability to govern are not synonymous. Example is Obama; good at debates and pitiful at governing.

    October 26, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Mario

    The Republicans want to take the country to the 20th century, as I see it. What America needs to do is take our country forward into the 21st century. Vote Democrat!!!!

    October 26, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  4. rs

    The "debates" do their job. They reveal policy ideas; governing strengths; leadership; personal ideologies; character; people skills, and yes, in this case that the candidate isn't fit intellectually to hold the office.

    October 26, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  5. JameyCarothers

    If anyone watched the last couple of debates, they witnessed Perry as he says, "stirring it up" amongst the other debaters. And while perry whines about not "talking about issues important to the American people" he "stirs it up" with tripe about Obama's birth certificate. Perry may be very well dumber than Bush. What a loser.

    October 26, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  6. AEK

    Can't hide from your words in a debate, Ricky. Yes, by all means, you should have taken the "Palin Approach". Don't ever say anything for which you will held accountable. Or the "Romney Approach". Don't say anything you can't change your mind about tomorrow. Or, the only tried and true one, the "Republican Approach". Say any outrageous, nonsense you want and then, deny it, lie about it or blame it on a misrepresentation of what you said by the media.

    October 26, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    If he blew off the debates, he would have had no chance at all.

    October 26, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  8. EatRunDive

    Perry is a boob. Y'all might want to remember that the governor of Texas has no real power, thus no real experience at leading. The Lt. Governor has all the power in Texas.

    October 26, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. v_mag

    The people of Texas had high hopes for Gov. Perry. We hoped he'd run for president, but that he would not win. We just hoped he would not be able to find his way back to Texas. Given his intellectual level, that was a real possibility.

    October 26, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Scott

    Yeah, heaven forbid that you give people a chance to see you debate your opponents on the issues before they vote.

    October 26, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  11. billy davis

    Not participating in debates flies well with the idiots in Texas. He knew he didn't stand a chance when actually having to deal with points and counter points. You want to be President you must debate. So not taking part would doom your chances just like taking part doomed your chances and allowed the American people see you are of no substance.

    October 26, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Dave

    He's lousy at defending his positions, so he'd like to skip debates? Newsflash, Ricky: debating issues is a major part of leadership. That's why we run candidates through those paces – to see if they could handle the job. Look, Rick... drop out, go home to Texas, and feel eternally grateful that people in that state were foolish enough to make you governor. You don't deserve that job, and you certainly don't deserve to be president of the United States.

    October 26, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. Jon in Rochester

    The debate is the only way the American public gets to know anything about the candidates. It appears that the more the public knows, the less they like. He is like an attractive looking house for sale with a bad case of termites. From the street, he looks like a great deal but when you investigate further, he is a bad deal. Mr. Perry would be happy if he could just win on his good looks and sassy slogans!

    October 26, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. Amazing

    Sounds like sour grapes.

    October 26, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  15. Roger

    If he has regrets about taking part in the debates what will happen, God forbid, if he is the nominee and has to debate President Obama next fall? That would certainly be a sight to see and hear!

    October 26, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. Davidk

    Rick Perry is slippery as an eel!!! As my granpa used to say...he's neeter than a skeeter's peter!!!

    October 26, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  17. Michael - Portage

    Of course, if they had gone well for him he would be singing their praises. What a tool.

    October 26, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. chuck

    This idiot can't do a debate-he is just to ignorant. Way to make excuses cowboy!! His flake of a wife Anita is so annoying, constantly making excuses for Perry's stupidity. He is history.

    October 26, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. Rob

    Just what do you propose, Mr. Perry, as an alternative to getting to know about you and how well you can handle yourself in a real butt-heads political situation? Should we just see some slickly-crafted campaign ads instead of the head-to-head discussion of issues?

    October 26, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  20. hayden

    Perry consistently refused to participate in debates during his runs for governor. He also refused to talk with the editorial boards of newspapers. It is obvious to those of us that live here in Texas is that our governor is a nearly illiterate bozo who has not worked a real job in his life (unless you count his chasing of cows). His entire reign as governor has been based on selling the state to large corporations that give him big campaign contributions cutting educaton spending, talking tough on illegal immigration while making it extremely easy for the corporate hacks to hire and underpay poor illegals. He is an good example of a politician but he is not a statesman. He makes George W. look brilliant!

    October 26, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  21. cigarman

    I suppose that Perry does regret participating in the debates. The debates revealed just how STUPID he is.

    October 26, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  22. blarkin

    So Gov Perry is sorry that he let the public know how uninformed and uneducated he is in a open form,and not hiding behind campaign staff.

    October 26, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  23. darn

    its hard debating when you don't know your topics very well

    October 26, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  24. mdm123

    Perhaps Perry fails to realize that if he were President (a thought that makes me shudder, he would in fact be required to be in deep and provocative discussions with a large range of world leaders. These leaders have opinions and policies that need to be debated, negotiated and resolved. If he doesn't like mixing it up in that fashion then he should just quit the race now. He has shown himself to have no statesman-like qualities.

    October 26, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  25. Corporations R. People II

    Rick Bush regrets not abiding by "Better to be thought of as a fool, rather than open one's mouth and remove all doubt"

    So Slick would like to say things and not be challenged on them....sounds like somebody's a bit "yeller bellied"

    Speaking of poking fun, did you hear the one about the idiot who couldn't even pull A's and B's at Texas A&M? Guess Slick Rick Bush couldn't even get good grades in courses for sheep fertility - that should've been his best course.

    October 26, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
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