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. Frank S

    Makes sense. Rick Perry would rather spend time attending prayapaloozas in Houston and having dinner with Donald Trump. Unlike debates, these activities in no way expose him as a dunce who should be kept as far away from the White House as possible.

    Wait, what?

    October 27, 2011 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  2. mk1

    Coward. And this is a man some people want negotiating on behalf of our country with foreign countries? This entire GOP field is scary and pathetic.

    October 27, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  3. whoa!

    if you can't stand the heat.. get the hell out of the kitchen!

    October 27, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  4. ljjm

    If Perry can't talk in front of his country's citizens, how will he ever communicate with foreign leaders?

    October 27, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  5. Bob Archer

    Yeah, he better start skipping some debates - because he sounds like a complete moron when he does participate. The only thing he has going for him is that every other Republican "candidate" sounds just as stupid and out of touch. Call me when the Republicans decide to put forth a real presidential. You know, one who can think, who will not ignore the concerns of 90% of the population, and who resides intellectually in the 21st century.

    October 27, 2011 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  6. truth1700

    Just what we need a camera shy president

    October 27, 2011 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  7. Benjamin

    Each debate costs him a couple of percentage points, it's no wonder he no longer wants to participate. But it's not a terribly good sign of presidential traits when each opportunity to make your case only hurts you, and even more so that you refuse to make it anymore. If you can't shore yourself up when it counts in a debate, why should we believe you will in the White House?

    October 27, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  8. Jim Bob

    This sounds like a great strategy to beat President Obama....Just skip all the debates. This strategy of avoiding debates may have worked before everyone knew that Perry was no good at them. Playing the mystery card only works when nobody knows the cards you have been dealt. Now that they do, his poll numbers can't go any lower because of poor debates and Perry's missing the debates will surely seal his fate as a bygone thought and un-electable candidate.

    October 27, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  9. HarvardLaw92

    This translates to: "Any further debate appearances will just make me look even more pathetic, so I will be skipping them in an attempt to keep my dying campaign alive a little while longer. "

    October 27, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  10. Dubya

    Yes, he has foot in mouth disease. Every time he opens his mouth, his foot flies in. If he were Bush's brother, he'd be the dumb one.

    NEXT moron please.

    October 27, 2011 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  11. Kaci

    Chicken! You're afraid the American people will see that you are an incompetent, bumbling idiot who cannot operate unless you are making backroom deals with your campaign donors. Mr. Perry, you are an embarrassment to my great state of Texas. Please get off of the national stage before you are finally the laughing stock of this campaign season.

    October 27, 2011 01:04 am at 1:04 am |
  12. Richard

    Perry should skip future debates. In past debates he's demonstrated a proclivity for the cheap and sensational, while failing to advance any leadership or team building skills. He needs the very people he's been trashing and attacking on stage.

    October 27, 2011 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. Pat in IL

    So essentially, he is taking himself out of the race. He's out anyway, so no point in wasting any more time or money on it.

    October 27, 2011 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  14. DoNotWorry

    They are especially difficult when you can't think on your feet.

    October 27, 2011 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  15. 4F

    Perry should stop debating. It is obvious he cannot take the heat and should get out of the kitchen. Seems to have pretty thin skin for a presidential candidate anyway. Oh, Obama has very thin skin too, so I guess Perry is in good company.

    October 27, 2011 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  16. otermbachmann

    What a whiner, but u know what they say about texans. Just go on Faux News they'll ask what u want and edit ur answers automatically. Don't want anything too tough, I mean, ur only running for president. What a baby.

    October 27, 2011 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  17. Spiraling Agony


    if he's the republican nominee, will he avoid the debates with Obama, too?

    if this is how he thinks he can succeed, the idea that he can lead a nation in the face of international friends and foes... is laughable at best, and absolutely disastrous at worst.

    you have got to admit that, regardless of political affiliation. you can't take your own primary debates? that means you're not fit for the office. period.

    October 27, 2011 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  18. SC

    Perry is done. It's not that he was UNDONE in the first place.

    October 27, 2011 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  19. Derek

    The attempted spin from the Perry camp is simply laughable. Can it be any more clear that Governor Perry is simply not ready for Prime Time?

    October 27, 2011 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  20. Guest

    1. If a candidate has problems scheduling 12 debates in 60 days, how will the he or she be able to keep up with a busy presidential schedule while still keeping the country safe?
    2. If a candidate can't summarize his or her ideas with a one minute answer, how can he or she expect the broad public to understand and buy into those policies?

    October 27, 2011 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  21. Texas Annie

    Yeah, Rick, avoid the debates so no one can see what a self-centered short tempered nitwit you really are.
    When you lose, please, DON'T come back to Texas.

    October 27, 2011 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  22. Independent from NH

    What a LOSER! Do you think Lincoln would avoid a debate because he was afraid of what people might say about him? That is what this is really about-the simple fact that Perry HAS no debating skills. Obama would crush him like an ant. The GOP can't afford to let that happen, so it's either Mittens or Cain.

    October 27, 2011 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  23. james

    If he skips one debate..its over for him...though i can tell you now, he has no chance. I think he is tipping the pathetic meter.

    October 27, 2011 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  24. chuck

    OK sure Rick-you go right ahead and skip those debates. Better check in with your boss first the KOCH bros, since they are footing your bill they may not like it. Perry a sinking ship, wife Anita (poor, poor Anita) very bad for campaign.

    October 27, 2011 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  25. Dubya

    Perry's handlers know that if he keeps opening his mouth in public, people are going to realize that he's just a dumber version of Bush.

    October 27, 2011 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
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