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. lgny

    In other words, Perry is admitting that he's not up to the challenge.

    Please go back to Texas.

    October 26, 2011 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  2. HenryB

    What a chicken. But I understand why Perry may not do more debates. He blows at them. Good move but still no cigar.

    October 26, 2011 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  3. Allen Sabey

    Perry's people are complaining that the debates don't give enough time to lay out their ideas and plans but then say that the debates take up too much time away from other campaign activities.
    And if you can't make your idea or plan somewhat understandable to voters in a short amount of time, it probably isn't going to be understood anyway. I think Perry is just realizing that he is no good at debates.

    October 26, 2011 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  4. John

    Hope he has another job lined up after he loses his re-election bid for Gov, of TX. He has shown everyone that he doesn't have what it takes to be a leader of anything.

    October 26, 2011 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  5. thomas

    Perry had the same strategy running for Governor in Texas .

    What about farm subsades ?

    Rick Perry Benefited From $80000 In Farm Subsidies.

    Rick Perry to apply Enron-style accounting principles to what should be a straightforward school accountability system.

    What Rick Perry doesn't want to talk about. .... Employment Policies Institute, Energy Citizens, Enron, ExxonMobil .

    October 26, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  6. Klaark

    If I looked as stupid as he does at these things, I'd skip 'em too.

    October 26, 2011 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  7. Ramrod

    That is fine. It doesn't matter. We haven't been watching anyways.

    October 26, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. MMallon

    This is probably a mistake. It is undoubtedly true that his numbers have dropped precipitously after his performance in the last few debates, but losing that facetime could be the beginning of the end for Perry's candidacy. Further, if his rationale is that he wants to spend time with voters at town hall meetings because they ask "harder" questions, he's in for a hell of a time. It was his inability to string two sentences together without a prepared speech in front of him that got him into this mess.

    For the record, I am a lifelong Texan, a Ron Paul Republican, and voted in the Republican primaries in 2008 and 2010. Governor Perry is an embarrassment to the state of Texas.

    October 26, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  9. Blamdamus

    So this guy wants to be the President? The Debates are too hard wah! Everyone can tell I'm a retard! Wahhh!
    So long Rick Perry.

    October 26, 2011 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  10. carly

    It is Palin politics. Don't open your mouth for fear that you may say something stupid.

    October 26, 2011 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  11. GM

    Good, one less whack job to listen to.

    October 26, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  12. roscoe

    A candidate that is afraid to debate is a candidate that should be flushed.

    October 26, 2011 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  13. Fred

    the debates show whether or not you can stand the heat in the kitchen.

    October 26, 2011 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  14. cardog

    Nothing needs to be said why this guy will not participate in further debates. The entire nations knows why...

    October 26, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  15. Canada

    Perry realizes that he just loses support the more he speaks.

    October 26, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. ArizonaYankee

    Face the facts, Perry is nowhere near ready. End of Story...

    October 26, 2011 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  17. Steve

    Of course you skip debates when you do so poorly at them.

    October 26, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  18. Mitt

    Equal opportunity

    Perry is proving himself to be a 'whiner' or maybe a 'cry baby'. According to Sarah Palin, he need to 'man up' and put aside cowardice. All the candidates have equal opportunity to debate and equal opportunity to campaign whenever and wherever they want. Listing states in which he has to debate doesn't actually say much. They each need to campaign in all these states anyway.

    He just lacks the skills necessary for an effective debate. That's exactly why his advisers need to select a crash course, maybe at Texas A&M University English Department, and enroll him immediately. Debate time slot is no excuse for a poor debate performance. How is it that others, like Cain, are able to perform well in the same time slot.

    Perry's aim is to get some kind of advantage over the others, and avoiding the debate will not necessarily give him such advantage. He can't speak, he can't debate, he can't convince others, he can't respond appropriately to a question, and he can't respect time slots. This man is simply short of the necessary oratory skills needed by a president. Obama is just laughing up his sleeve at him.

    It will be to his own demise if it chooses to avoid the debates which are watch by millions of Americans, and chooses to campaign while most people are watching such debates. He's just so narrow in his thoughts and his so-called advisers are only in it for the money.

    When will he simply 'man up' and face the music?

    October 26, 2011 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  19. Aaron

    Perry skated his way through Texas elections by not debating. That is because he is dumb as a box of rocks. He is second guessing debates now because he is much dumber than everybody else. His handlers thinks that will help him. Actually, it will show that he has no guts. He hunts from a deer blind and not face to face. This will only make him look chicken. If the other candidates were smart, they would make it known that he isn't there.

    October 26, 2011 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  20. Out of Texas

    Typical Perry tactic to run a smear campaign against his opponents, then run from debates which would allow his challengers both the opportunity to defend themselves, and highlight Perry's less than stellar record and profound ignorance.

    This is the smear campaign tactic that he used when he refused to debate his democratic challenger Bill White for the 2010 gubernatorial race here in Texas. Perry made unsubstantiated allegations about Bill White and demanded that if White would not release his entire income tax return for public scrutiny, he would not debate him.

    Now, Perry has been on the record stating that President Obama should release his income tax return and college transcript. I guess if Perry was the GOP nominee, he would use this lame excuse not to debate President Obama.

    October 26, 2011 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  21. Colby

    Get real. This guy used debates to talk about Mitt Romney's yard. Not issues. Not his platform. He was worse than the moderators who let it happen and now he wants to complain? Get real. there should be no more than 4 men on stage- Mitt, Cain, Paul and (maybe) Gingrich.

    October 26, 2011 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  22. Larry L

    At some point you've lost and you're only in for ego or money. Even the Republican evangelicals see Perry as a poor copy of "W".

    October 26, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  23. C in the South

    I guess the Wizard of 'Odd' would much rather just remain behind the curtain and entice supporters that way. It is no coincidence that his popularity was at its peak w/out him so much as saying a word, but the minute he jumped into the race and opened his mouth that popularity diminished overnight.

    October 26, 2011 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  24. Terry

    Good grief, did this man ever hear of "Debate 101"?

    October 26, 2011 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  25. SofGangsta

    As Charlie Sheen would say: Weak!

    October 26, 2011 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
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