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. harvey johnson

    I wouldn't attend anymore debates either if I was a complete idiot'

    October 26, 2011 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  2. ArtInChicago

    What Perry? You Yeller? Iz ya afeared of saying something else stupid?

    October 26, 2011 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  3. Corvid

    I guess if he became president, he won't have press conferences. If he can't memorize responses to expected questions, for sure he couldn't improvise if an unexpected query came up.

    October 26, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  4. Martin

    So in other words, they know that Perry is going to look like a goof the minute he gets on a debate stage, so are working on trying to get him out of previously obligated debates.

    October 26, 2011 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  5. Joe

    Wow, there's leadership for you. Fumble and stumble in the debates and make a fool of yourself, then look for excuses to avoid further debates. I'm so impressed.

    October 26, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. Oh Come On

    Can't handle the heat...............Perry should get out of the kitchen.

    October 26, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  7. citizen 7

    Not surprised at all. Run Rick Run...I was waiting for Rick Perry to wimp out...He cannot take the heat of being confronted about his stupid decisions. As a Texan I wish he would stop speaking as though every Texan agrees with him.

    October 26, 2011 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  8. Reggie from LA

    You know what they say, "If you can't beat'em, get out of the debate business". I suppose it's in his best interest. Wonder what he'd do should he get into the White House and things get hot. Just skip it. Congress'll take care of whatever it is. Perry came to fish, not cut bait. He don't need no pesky debates. It's for those "other people". He needs to get up close and personal with voters...I mean lobbyists who'll give him hugs and kisses instead of bumps and bruises on the debate stage.

    October 26, 2011 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  9. Chuk

    Can't stand the heat, huh? Guess what, the debates are "town halls" for the entire nation – same thing. So don't lie to us.

    October 26, 2011 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  10. Al

    That's good, I hope Romneycare goes next, for we don't need someone like that back to back in the White House. America needs someone that is smart enough to balance the country, and a politician is not going to cut the mustard.

    October 26, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. racegirl1

    What a big texan running scared, go and play with the big boys, it will be fun if not for you it will be for the rest of us. ha-ha

    October 26, 2011 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  12. SFRich

    Well by all means Rick... avoid all those silly opportunities for intelligent discourse. That will give you more time to focus on all that silly stuff that stirs up the party base. Why heck... maybe you can talk about that optional 20% flat tax that only those wealthy cronies would benefit from.. or you can even poke a little fun at Obama about that 'birther' thing.

    October 26, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  13. frhoads

    Good plan. He's a moron, and it's best to try to hide this by not speaking in public. Maybe he can go to a mountain retreat and wait for God to hand down tablets with rules of conduct. Oh, wait...

    October 26, 2011 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  14. ron mcloughlin

    Sound like a losing strategy from a real loser.

    October 26, 2011 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  15. Real Patriot

    If I was as stupid as Perry-I would skip the debates too..... Sarah....


    October 26, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  16. Jan Russell

    "Perry, whose poll numbers have slid after a series of uneven debate performances, made headlines Tuesday when he described taking part as a "mistake.""
    Poll numbers "have slid"???? Time to call up the grammar police! The poll numbers either "slid" or they did not "slide".
    Are there any adults on your staff????

    October 26, 2011 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. WhereIsPalin

    Like a deer in the headlights..........

    October 26, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  18. sam

    Yeah less national TV air time is usually a good idea for a potential candidate.

    October 26, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  19. nintex

    Debates are not Perry's strong point, as we've seen recently. Instead of being on a nationally televised stage, in a town hall venue he can schmooze his way through and fake people out with his bs. He's got that good 'ole boy stuff down pat.

    October 26, 2011 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  20. Gary W.


    Lets be honest, the tough questions are the ones you can't answer, the ones where everyone can see you flubbing, diverting, or stalling for time. Away from the cameras you can hide, and put yourself amongst audiences that love you before you even walk through the door.

    October 26, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  21. Big Tex

    Slick Rick never liked to debate when running for governor. He doesn't want to be exposed for the huckster that he is. He can't sell his snake oil to the masses the way he can to small groups of devotees.

    October 26, 2011 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  22. John

    Perry can always give interviews on Fox news. He is a coward. What is he so afraid of. He hasn't got the right stuff. Go back to Texas you are nothing but a marsh mellow.....

    October 26, 2011 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  23. Smittnews

    This is a new spin on the otherwise very upfront response of Perry today with OReilly. Where basically he was cocky enough to act as though he can get nominated without debating. YA right and the stage is full because has beens like you at poll numbers of 4 and 6 won't drop out. You sir are a bully and you aren't debating because it shows how corrupt you are! How weak your policies. You are Number ONE on because you sir are a LIAR and Filth. Oh as for Christian that is a joke as well with only a $100 contribution while Romney has donated Millions to charities and his church. You disgust me.

    October 26, 2011 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  24. wow

    If he can't stand up in a debate to the likes of Bachman or Santorum, he expects me to vote for him when he will have to go head to head with REAL leaders of other countries in negotiating? LOL

    October 26, 2011 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  25. Duncan

    So the excuse is that you cannot stand the close heat of a debate and would rather spend your campaign money traveling from point to point. You have to be able to think on your feet and not be spoon-fed by handlers. Don't waste everyone's time and just drop out, Mr. Perry.

    October 26, 2011 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
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