Perry jokes about debate skills but won't confirm whether he'll skip out
October 28th, 2011
02:59 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry jokes about debate skills but won't confirm whether he'll skip out

Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry joked Friday a grueling debate schedule could help sharpen his skills, but he would not say whether he planned to skip any upcoming GOP match-ups.

"I don't know whether or not we're gonna forego any debates or not," Perry told reporters in Concord, New Hampshire, and joked about his notoriously lackluster debate performances. "Shoot, I'm gonna be a good debater before it's all over with."

Perry's communication director said on CNN's "John King, USA" Wednesday that the campaign was considering limiting the number of debates he would participate in favoring spending more time with early-state voters instead.

Friday the candidate was on a day-long swing through New Hampshire, filing for his primary candidacy and joking around with reporters and supporters who trailed him through the state capital.

At a press conference following his filing, Perry addressed another campaign controversy - whether he regretted re-igniting the "birther" storyline this week.

Perry told reporters he did not think his comments questioning the validity of President Obama's birth certificate were a mistake.

In an interview with Parade magazine published earlier this week, Perry said he "didn't have any idea" whether the birth certificate was real. He later clarified he had been joking and said he did believe Obama is a U.S. citizen.

"I don't consider making fun of something a mistake," Perry told reporters Friday.

When reporters asked whether Perry thought he could challenge former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney in New Hampshire, Perry made another joke.

"Yeah," he said. "I'm not just here because I like to hang around with y'all. I'm here to win."

In a CNN/TIME/ORC poll New Hampshire state poll released Monday, Romney led the field with 40% and Perry came in sixth with 4%.

During two appearances Friday afternoon, Perry emphasized his consistency while questioning Romney's.

"Like it or not, the governor's been on opposite sides of a lot of issues," he said of Romney during a local radio interview.

As evidence of his consistency, Perry pointed to his refusal to back away from some of his policies on illegal immigrants that have been controversial among some conservatives.

He will give a keynote speech to the conservative group Cornerstone Action's annual dinner Friday.

Filed under: 2012 • New Hampshire • Rick Perry
soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. Jake

    has America really sunk this low that it is NOT looking for a leader who can debate his opponents? and we're talking opponents who share the same party! this guy is a grade A loser, and the great state of Texas has known this for some time! please America, lets look to people who can honestly lead our country and not just someone who has the same religious belief you do!

    October 28, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Brad5013

    Can u imagine this clown speaking before world leaders?

    October 28, 2011 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    "Luckily the American people, with the aid of the Greece fiasco, have seen what the Democrats want to turn this country into, one giant government run welfare program."

    You really REALLY hate the poor and minorities, huh?

    October 28, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Democrat Party – leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    People have begun asking, when was the last time a republican did anything for America?
    Not really, just tools like you. Republicans made this country great and prosperous.

    They also came up with individual mandates for healthcare, which your hero Romney implemented with great relish. Thanks for the help, you closet socialist!

    October 28, 2011 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Rich

    Rick you make W look like a bright man...Stick with your first loves huntin & clearing brush.

    October 28, 2011 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |

    Rick Bush looks like a deer in the headlights during debates. Now he wants to run like Sharon Angle ran from reporters because she was slow like him.

    October 28, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  7. S. Dogood

    What a joke! I mean Perry, not his debate skills.

    October 28, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  8. Cedar Rapids

    "Perry said he "didn't have any idea" whether the birth certificate was real. He later clarified he had been joking and said he did believe Obama is a U.S. citizen."

    hey its another flip flopper like Cain's electric fence and prisoner swap.

    October 28, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  9. Rich

    Rick has grown jobs alright but you need 3-4 of them to survive and with no benefits...

    October 28, 2011 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    If he can't think on his feet and utter a coherent sentence, what in God's green earth makes him think he can be president???? oh, right, george w. bush. actually, he couldn't be president, either, and we'll be cleaning up his mess for another decade!!!!!!

    October 28, 2011 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  11. us1776

    Perry is by far the worst debater I've seen in a long time.

    Maybe we could have some elementary school kids come in for him to debate.


    October 28, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. JohnRJohnson

    Let's be clear about this and not let the issue be reduced down to "debate skills". The issue is not that Perry has terrible debating skills. The issue is why. He is not a clear thinker and most of positions are based on political expediency rather than firm conviction. He's a less intelligent, more right-wing version of Romney. There are only two Republican candidates that have any brains at all. One of them, Ron Paul, is a utopian libertarian who wants to take us back to pre-WWI policies and the other is Newt Gingrich who is largely responsible for the divisiveness of politics in this country over the last 15 years. The extreme partisanship and refusal to compromise began with Gingrich when he became Speaker.

    October 28, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  13. mark moore

    Intelligent Texans are glad the rest of the country is seeing what we've been contending with for 10 long years now. All hat and no cattle perry.

    October 28, 2011 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Demo- Obama has seen more job growth (without republican help) in 2 and a half years than Bush did in 8. (CBO puts the number at almost 3 million jobs in the private sector, while Bush's job creation in two terms was close to one million.) President Obama's auto loans also saved 2 million auto related jobs.
    yeah, right... which is why unemployment STILL remains at 9.1% and going nowhere but up. Because of all the jobs Obama is creating in his make believe magic calculations. The fact is the ONLY jobs this buffon knows how to create are government union jobs for his union backers, aka dead weight overhead. Obama could care less about the average non-union worker.

    October 28, 2011 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. SC

    @Democrat Party Leftist: You need to get a life. I read this blog about once a week and you spend too much time responding. I bet you are at work blogging instead of working. I am praying for you because you are so filled with hate, not free speech.

    October 28, 2011 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    brain dead liberal
    Couldn't have said it better myself!

    October 28, 2011 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Perry is confirming what we've known all along – that he is a joke of a candidate.

    October 28, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. moderatejoe

    Huntsman is the only chance the GOP has. To those who think he's a RINO, there are even more who can't stand the right wing GOP. If the GOP stubbornly goes toofar right they will lose the moderate middle who will stay home or go with Obama.

    The electable discussion is real, don't be stupid.

    October 28, 2011 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. farmertx

    That a person could have campaigned over a 20+year period for various State offices and never learned to debate ought to be a caution sign against voting for him in any meaningful office.

    He flat refused to debate in his last campaign for gov. Nor would he meet with a round table of editors from the State's major newspapers.

    Bear in mind this quote from his spokesperson after the traitor comment flap to reporter's seeking comment: "Now y'all know that you can't take everything he says literally". Finally, truth in politics. It should be the tag line to every speech he makes or ad his campaign or supporters run.

    You'll also note his welcoming any endorsement, then sorta backing away from the endorser by saying "I can't control what people who support me say".

    James Richard Perry, aka the Rev, and gov good hair - still not ready for prime time.

    October 28, 2011 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. Lili

    You should never underestimate your opponent. Perry's team understand that he can't win by playing the game the GOP establishment and media wants him to play. If he does, he will surely fail. He understand that he is going to have to play the game his way if he wants a chance! I think it will work in Perry's favor to be the unconventional candidate. His team should hold a televised town hall where supporters and non supporters ask him tough questions just prior to any GOP debate he doesn't want to do. He can argue instead of arguing with other candidates, he is spending his time with the voters and letting them know directly what he plans on doing. Perry is on to something... and that's what everyone is afraid of. Yall trying to call this man dumb and it is clear to me that notion is the furthest thing from the truth!

    October 28, 2011 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  21. bartonfunk

    The sad thing about Perry is that he is actually a Gov. of a State. If I lived in Texas I'd be embarrassed that he was the Gov. (Not that other States should not be embarrassed too.)

    October 28, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Tillie in Texas

    1) Now y'all know why Icky Ricky refused to debate Bill White during the Texas Gov election. Keeping his mouth shut was the only way he could get re-elected.

    2) To quote the wonderful Molly Ivins..."Next time I tell you someone from Texas should not be President of the United States, please pay attention".

    October 28, 2011 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. MnTaxpayer

    I swear he looks more and more like Ronald Reagan every day.

    October 28, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. vx

    Looks like you Democrats exhibit too much fear for Perry becoming the Republican nominee.

    October 28, 2011 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. v_mag

    Perry won in Texas last time by refusing to debate Bill White, who would have wiped the floor with him.

    October 28, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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