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. freetime1

    Just give up and go home. You have shown us all you do not have what it takes.

    October 27, 2011 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  2. Gercy

    As a Texan, I knew this guy would fail miserably in the debates. I'm conflicted, I don't wish this clown on the American people, but I don't want him to come back and continue to govern my state. He's a fool and he's proving it on a national level.

    October 27, 2011 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  3. EB

    Go for it. Step 1 – don't debate. That definitely will improve the process. But to be completely effective there needs to be a step 2 – don't campaign. And a step 3 – don't talk.

    October 27, 2011 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  4. Jebbb

    Perry has collected $17 million already. I think he should just skip all the rest of the politics, and go home and count his money. Mission accomplished, suckers!

    October 27, 2011 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  5. Jack V

    If Rick Perry could talk his way out of a paper bag he'd be wanting one million debates. You ain't fooling nobody but the knuckle draggers.

    October 27, 2011 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  6. saftgek

    Governor Perry's handlers must believe that ALL voters are incapable of rational, objective thought. If this is NOT the case, why would they release such nonsense? It is glaringly apparent the "pull out" is in direct response to his woeful inability to 1) articulate a coherent message, and 2) think/respond on his feet.

    Governor Perry, during his campaign, has demonstrated – in spades – he is George W. Bush incarnate. To watch him on camera, to listen to his attempts at articulation, gives cause to close one's eyes and picture GWB's head on Governor Perry's body.

    Seeing George W. Bush and Rick Perry as governors of the same state brings into question the intellect and objectivity of the voting majority in the State of Texas. Very Sad!

    October 27, 2011 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  7. Cardul

    Well, it makes sense. After all: if you do so poorly in debates, why go to them? Of course, since the General Election is swayed by debates, and the performance of candidates in said debates, since Perry is such a poor debater, why
    doesn't he just drop out now, and save himself the humiliation?

    October 27, 2011 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  8. Jeff Brown

    So what's he going to do when he needs to go toe-to-toe with Iran or North Korea? Not bother to show up?

    October 27, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  9. G

    Rick Perry is just as crooked as a barrel of snakes. He makes the act of mudslinging an art. And, after throwing everything at his opponents in hopes that something will stick to discredit them, he will avoid a face to face confrontation of a debate. Once, voters' impression of his opponents have been lowered, Rick Perry cruises to an easy victory.

    October 27, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  10. Jim

    Perry is done. What a coward!

    October 27, 2011 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  11. Ppeterdds

    Ah - the emperor with new clothes must have walked past a mirror...

    October 27, 2011 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  12. Perry Skips Debates

    Truly, the Governor has not displayed a quick and able wit, nor firm articulation, but does this mean he would be a bad president. Why, look at President Bush - he was equally inarticulate and yet got us involved in two wars, aided deregulation, laid the groundwork for recession (or depression), created a massive legal disparity between corporations and investors and the middle class and helped appoint activist jurists - when you look at this list of accomplishments, why wonder how incredible a Perry presidency would be?

    October 27, 2011 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  13. W.G.

    C´mon get real he wants to cut back on debates because he´s a sold and bought puppet for the "RICH" and
    he´s just too stupid to hold a conversation much less debate . I come from Texas but it was a Texas that
    had HEROES not ZEROS way before the republican party came in and accepted all the racists and bigots
    that you see now in the republican party and gave them a collective voice . Palin hated debates and the press
    I guess he´s just another palin too stupid to chew gum and walk at the same time .

    October 27, 2011 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  14. claudeinalbany

    Boo Hoo...the debates are obviously too much for him. (People get MEAN in them, darn it.) If he were president, perish the thought, would he avoid important meetings/debates with world leaders, members of Congress and even his staff?

    He's smarter than I thought he was...because of his lack of knowledge on issues and his "puppy dog style" he's realized he'd better talk off the cuff as very little as possible and rely strictly on notes and teleprompters. Every time he says something his foot pops into his mouth and down he rockets in the polls. I suspect his interviews with the media, except maybe for FOX, will be few and very far between, too. After all, that pesky liberal media is agin him. Well, if you can't take the fire, jump into the fryin' pan!

    October 27, 2011 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  15. kierthos

    Yeah, that's the reason. It's not because every time he opens his mouth at a debate, he sticks his foot in there.

    What's he polling at right now? 10% or less?

    October 27, 2011 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  16. G Foster

    In other words, our candidate sucks at thinking so we want to keep him as far away from good questions as possible.

    October 27, 2011 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  17. Malcolm Reding

    Perry is such a crybaby, his reaction to criticism harkens to another Texan that ran for President as an independent in 1992, Ross Perot. He couldn't stand the heat in the kitchen either and folded like a bad poker hand. I said that Perry is the personification of an old Texas phrase; BIG HAT NO CATTLE." And every time he opens his mouth he reinforces that opinion. My wife said yesterday after watching Perry for some weeks; "He's not very bright is he". I said; "No, but our last President from Texas was not the brightest light on the tree either.

    People forget that being the governor of Texas is a part time job. The Texas legislature meets every other year. So the politicians in Texas work for one year and spend one year raising money to run the next year.

    October 27, 2011 07:06 am at 7:06 am |
  18. Perry Winkle

    Perry is the poster child for today's republican party – morally bankrupt, inept, and completely out of touch.

    October 27, 2011 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  19. Dave

    What a joke. Perry doesn’t like debates simply because they expose him for what he is – petulant, arrogant, dumb, and lacking the ability to form a coherent thought. He actually reminds me of another recent politician from Texas with the same characteristics.

    I would think Perry needs the practice. If he gets the nomination, which is a long shot, he will have to debate Obama and Obama will mop the floor with him. That will be entertaining to watch…

    October 27, 2011 07:12 am at 7:12 am |
  20. Tom P.

    We've all come to see that Perry is nothing but a mean, stuffed-shirt politician with no real substance to his act.
    This is cowardly but not out of character.

    October 27, 2011 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  21. Kool Aid

    If he can't stand the heat he should stay out of the kitchen. When there is a world crisis we don't want someone who cannot take the 3:00am phone call.

    October 27, 2011 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  22. Tom

    If debates are to tough in his own party he may want to bow out now because he certainly will not make it in a bipartisan one.

    October 27, 2011 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  23. R.L.

    He can't handle debates so he looks for an excuse not to go. Sarah Palin quits being Governor because she wants to make money. Do we really want these types of politicians influencing the political climate in our country. I don't think so.

    October 27, 2011 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  24. Common Sense

    LOL, you've been made to look ineffectual in the debates, my guess is because you are an ineffectual person. Of course you don't want to debate any more. The more you talk, the more people realize you would be a horrible president.

    October 27, 2011 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  25. Boucher

    "It's pretty hard to be able to sit and lay out your ideas and your concepts with a one-minute response.". Translation: I'm not that smart.....

    October 27, 2011 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
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