Perry may pass on debates
October 26th, 2011
08:53 PM ET
10 years ago

Perry may pass on debates

(CNN) - Arguing the election cycle has too many presidential debates, Rick Perry's top spokesman said the Texas governor could use more time with voters instead of taking the stage with Republican opponents.

"We're about 60 days away from votes being cast," communications director Ray Sullivan said on CNN's "John King, USA" Wednesday. "The candidates need to spend time in Iowa doing those town halls and spending a lot more time with the voters, who oftentimes have the best questions and press the candidates the hardest."

Citing the dozen-plus debates in the works, Sullivan added: "There's no way that the candidates can do all those debates."

Perry, whose poll numbers have slid after a series of uneven debate performances, made headlines Tuesday when he described taking part as a "mistake."

"These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates," Perry said on Fox News. "It's pretty hard to be able to sit and lay out your ideas and your concepts with a one-minute response."

Sullivan confirmed that Perry will participate in a debate on Nov. 9, hosted by CNBC with the Michigan Republican Party and Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.

"But look, we're taking each of these as they come, examining the schedule and examining the opportunities and the opportunity costs," Sullivan told King, CNN's chief national correspondent.

Sullivan said the Perry campaign needs to be in several key battleground states, including Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and Nevada.

"We certainly respect the process, but when you've got eight of nine candidates and 30 seconds to a minute, it takes valuable time away from campaigning in Iowa, as those elections approach," Sullivan said.

Also see:

Bachmann files to run in New Hampshire

Gingrich builds staff in New Hampshire

Trump's 'birther' prediction for Perry

Filed under: 2012 • Rick Perry • TV-John King U.S.A.
soundoff (268 Responses)
  1. RINO Bil

    I can't see myself voting for such a coward. If Perry can't handle people in his own party, how can he handle Obama, or the world's leaders?

    Perry is nothing more than Texas Toast as far as I am concerned.

    October 26, 2011 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. optimistica

    Sure he wants to make the case for passsing under the guise of spending more time with voters – but the ugly truth is that he can't perform even adequately and exposes his shallow ideas for all to see.

    October 26, 2011 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Angy

    that's because he is dumb as a stump.

    October 26, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. OhioGuy

    He's scared lol, he's trash and he knows it.

    October 26, 2011 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. David in Denver

    And if he were doing really well in the debates, would the strategy change?

    October 26, 2011 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. Bill in Austin

    This is not surprising as Governor Perry avoided all debates in the last gubernatorial election in Texas. He also refused to meet with any of the editorial boards of the major newspapers in Texas. Many Texans saw this as a cowardly act totally out of character or the rough and tough Texan that he portrays.

    October 26, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. pn

    Since Perry can't lay out his ideas in 1 minute responses he will lay them out in 30 second TV commercials.

    October 26, 2011 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  8. dwt

    His complaint is that it's "pretty hard" to lay out your views in 60 seconds? How hard does he think the job he's seeking is going to be?

    October 26, 2011 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  9. Daniel

    Ha perry (I wont capitalize his name, he doesnt get/deserve my respect) cant handle the heat any more. His past debates hurt him so now hes avoiding them.

    October 26, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  10. Beth

    Could it be he has realized how stupid he has looked in the debates?

    October 26, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  11. Derek

    Nice...classic political spin doctoring. "We want to focus more on talking directly with voters" = "Perry's getting crushed in the debates. We need to get him out asap before he completely destroys this campaign...if it isn't already"

    October 26, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  12. Al

    Even Mark Twain couldn't concoct more lame excuses than Perry. Now all Americans and the world see what we Texans have had to put up with for 10 years. If he can't take the heat, he needs to get out of the $10,000/month kitchen for which we tax payers are footing the bill.

    October 26, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  13. Penny

    Let's see...this translates into, "Our candidate sucks at debates no matter how hard we've tried to work with him. Since he can't hold water against other candidates, we're not going to play ball and go to where he doesn't have to compete for airtime with others." Ego to the max.

    October 26, 2011 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. RC

    Translation: "I'm tired of Romney showing how dumb I am."

    October 26, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  15. kurtinco

    Thank goodness. The guy is a weak, cry-baby loser. Hopefully, we won't have to hear anything else from him except for who he is going to endorse. I feel bad for whoever that will be.

    October 26, 2011 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  16. Rich

    Please learn a little about world events Rick before you get in any debates.He couldn't debate a 5th grader...He needs to fund MORE education in Texas instead of less if he is the product of a Texas edjamacathun...W actually has a better grasp of the english language than Rick...

    October 26, 2011 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  17. Grand Oil (and Tea) Partiers

    Who's a bigger coward Ricky Bush or Eric Cantor?

    October 26, 2011 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  18. John

    Go ahead It your throat that you will be cutting. Don't go to any debates and you will lose. You will lose either way so It doesn't ready make any different.

    October 26, 2011 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    One down, 27 more to go.

    October 26, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  20. blake

    It is true that Perry's performance at the debates has hurt him. But so will his decision not to participate. Perry is basically taking himself out of the race with this decision. Since 1980 you can't become president without a handling the media with the skill of a professional actor. Sad, but true.

    October 26, 2011 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  21. Malcolm

    If Rick Perry would spend more time dealing with serious issues and educating himself about the things that concern Americans instead of "joking and poking fun" maybe he would have the right answers during debates. This smells of Sarah Palin's attempts to avoid the media for fear of saying something stupid.

    October 26, 2011 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  22. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    For once I agree with you Rick... Why don't you save yourself the embarrassment.

    You could also save the fools who actually support you some time and money too... Just quit and go home. But then the comedy would be over.

    October 26, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  23. Canuck

    If you can't take the heat....

    October 26, 2011 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  24. Ron

    And if he should be elected president, he may skip any function that could also make him look like an idiot. After all, that is what America really, really needs. A president who will run and hide anytime the going gets tough. Makes you wonder what he really did all those years as Governor of Texas.

    October 26, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  25. Susan B

    Perry skipped many of the gubernatorial debates in Texas. And he won. Shows the intelligence or lack thereof in the state I live in.

    October 26, 2011 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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