Perry will debate but still doesn't like it
October 30th, 2011
01:04 PM ET
11 years ago

Perry will debate but still doesn't like it

(CNN) - Texas Gov. Rick Perry still doesn't like debates, even though he has backed off from an earlier threat to drop out of upcoming showdowns with other Republican presidential candidates.

"I readily admit, I'm not the best debater in the world," Perry said on "Fox News Sunday." "With as many debates as we've got coming up, I may be a pretty good debater when it's all said and done."

Calling the debate schedule excessive due to the "incredible amount of time and preparation and what have you," Perry also questioned the value of oratory skills in the White House.

"We've got a great debater, a smooth politician in the White House right now, and that's not working out very well," he said of President Barack Obama.

Perry came under criticism last week, after his campaign suggested he might drop out of future debates following shaky performances in recent weeks that contributed to his sinking poll numbers. However, his campaign announced Saturday that he would attend four scheduled debates next month, including two co-sponsored by CNN.

In Sunday's interview, Perry focused his criticism on Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a top competitor for the Republican presidential nomination.

On Obama, Perry said a "wavering" U.S. foreign policy involving the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was putting American soldiers in jeopardy. In particular, he cited the forced resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal as U.S. commander in Afghanistan over a magazine article in which McChrystal and other officers were characterized as disrespectful of Obama, as well as the president's announced timetable for ending the two conflicts.

"He's lost his standing of being a commander-in-chief who has any idea of what is going on in those theaters," Perry said. "He's making mistakes that are putting our kids that are in the theater and I think future issues dealing with - whether it's in the Middle East or whether it's in the South China Sea with our allies - putting all of that in jeopardy because of this … aimless approach to foreign policy which he has."

On another issue, Perry admitted to changing his position on federal help for the energy industry after writing a 2008 letter seeking government backing for a nuclear power plant in Texas. Now, Perry said, he opposes any such federal aid like the kind he sought in the letter three years ago.

"We were asking at that particular point in time for the federal government to support the nuclear power industry," Perry said, later adding: "I've changed my position to the standpoint of having any dollars from the federal government. … Let the market figure it out."

Despite such a shift, Perry reiterated his claim that he is a "consistent conservative" compared to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the steady frontrunner in the Republican race so far.

Romney, he said, has moved to the right politically on issues such as gun control and abortion to try to appeal to conservatives.

"We are very, very different from the standpoint of consistency on those issues I've just mentioned," Perry said.

Also see:

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Top Obama aide focuses criticism on Romney

Axelrod takes on lobbyist charge while jabbing Republicans

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • Rick Perry
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Four and The Door

    "I readily admit, I'm not the best debater in the world," Perry said on "Fox News Sunday.
    Yeah, but most fifth graders would be able to beat Obama in the Presidential debates once a Republican is nominated. Obama's only ammunition will be excuses. They don't play well in any debate.

    October 30, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. MikeH

    Perry's intellectually challenged. Debates requires a knowledge base of the subjects to be debated, something Perry doesn't bother with, unless the subject is about guns or killing things. Even Dubya could manage to debate, although it was painful to listen to him mangle the english language.

    America is doomed if another Republican becomes president.

    October 30, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. edpeters101

    "Perry will debate but still doesn't like it".. Whew, that was close, I thought the late night comedians where going to have to go on vacation! Not only that, without Perry's comments Mitt would sink like a rock. Here we go, no holds barred. Now we have to get Bachmann some more support before she decides to run away...

    October 30, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  4. SecedingfromTexas

    Calling the debate schedule excessive due to the "incredible amount of time and preparation and what have you."
    Lazybones Perry. How would he ever handle the incredible amount of time and preparations and "what have you"
    it would take as President? He couldn't.

    October 30, 2011 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  5. vic , nashville ,tn

    Rick Perry doesn’t know that Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, radical Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi all are dead

    Only on thing holding Obama’s approval rating is his foreign policy

    October 30, 2011 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Ponzi Rick has just discovered as a candidate for our highest office, that now like most Americans, he will have to earn his rewards. it just isn't always going to be handed to him by millionaires.

    October 30, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. GOP = Greed Over People

    "He's lost his standing of being a commander-in-chief who has any idea of what is going on in those theaters," Perry said.

    This from a cowardly wuss too afraid to debate??? What would Perry do, hit Ghadfi with his man purse?

    What a pathetic lying hypocrite. The shrub could not find OBL in 8 YEARS 4500 young American lives and President Obama and the Seals did with no losses.

    Not to mention Al-Alwiki and Ghadfi!

    If that is considered "wavering" then I want my CIC to "waver".

    And I want the cowardly lion, pretty Perry to STFU when it comes to critizings the Presidents foreign policy, I feel safer under his administration than I ever did under the GOP!

    October 30, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  8. steven harnack

    It finally sank in to my slow brain WHY the Republicans are having so many debates. They are all quaking at the thought of debating President Obama and they are hoping that all of this practice will get them ready. If that's the case they had better start talking about issues instead of who is the most reactionary.

    October 30, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  9. RINO Bil

    Big deal! For me, Rick Perry stopped being a vaiable presidential candidate long before this debate imbroglio arose. His tenure as governor of Texas more than disqualifies him from leading the country.

    October 30, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  10. bcm

    Of course he doesn't like it. Everytime he debates people see him for what he is – an idiot!

    October 30, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  11. NVa Native

    A politician that can't debate?! What does he think this job will be – just demanding that everyone do as you tell them to do??
    That's like a someone interviewing to be a pilot who's afraid of heights, someone who can't swim as a life-guard.
    What a moron! What a punk!
    And the people who suppport him and have voted for him – calling them morons is way too nice!

    October 30, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. sensible

    At least he is not like Palin and says "it's the gotcha media and the moderators that are out to get him and messing up his debates"!

    October 30, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Independent from NH

    Perry is toast and is grasping for straws. Republicans must understand that if they want to grab the White House in 2012 they MUST have the "slickest" speaker with has the greatest oratory skills. Obama would crush Perry. Romney, however ones' opinion may be on his shifting values or what-not, is the only candidate with the oratory skills to give Obama a serious run for his money.

    In addition, I would like to thank Obama personally for converting me into a republican. "Won't Be Fooled Again" by The Who should be Romney's battle-song against Obama.

    October 30, 2011 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. T'sah from Virginia

    Perry thinks all of this he is going through now will go away. He still has a book he wrote that will be further scrutinized once he gets into the general election!!

    Obama 2012!!

    October 30, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. Dixie

    Why not drop out now, and save yourself the embarrassment?

    October 30, 2011 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Perry especially hates the part where he has to answer questions or present ideas.

    October 30, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. shoegazer

    Now,is this Sarah Perry or Rick Bachmann? Either way,he sure doesn't come across as the sharpest tool in the shed.

    October 30, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  18. The Greedy Old Pigs have lost their minds!

    Perry summary: "Mitt is a flip-flopping hypocrite who changes his mind and I am not, except when I do, but then I'm just being consistently inconsistent," Yeah, that makes about as much sense as your debate "answers" ya dumb texan!

    October 30, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  19. fernace

    Perry thinks he can do what he does in Texas, which is to dis the debates & still get elected! This is the national "theater," & those little ar.rog.ant plays wont work! I'm not sure how bringing the troops home will put them in harms way, but we progressive Texans know all too well his positions on everything! It's basically "show me the $$" all the way!!

    October 30, 2011 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Stan

    He criticizes Pres. Obama for "putting our kids [soldiers] in the theater [Middle East] ... in jeopardy." Duh! Where was this criticism when Bush-Cheney initiated all this??? Perry would do best to exit at this point. If he ever has to debate the President it'll be a sad, sad day for the Republicans.

    October 30, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. JP

    If someone is dumb enough to give illegals up to 100,000 each in reduced taxpayer subsidized toution then theye are too stupid to say anything intelligent in a debate.

    October 30, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Reader in So. Cal

    I noticed that Perry makes many accusations in his interview without backing them up. Like most reporters, Chris Wallace did not ask Perry to give facts to back his statements. Perry claims Obama wavers on his foreign policy. How? He said he would get the troops out of Iraq by the end of 2011 – using the timeline Bush and the Iraqis negotiated. Obama got bin Laden, something the previous administration chose not to do. He helped Libya through the use of NATO. Hmmm, Obama seems to have stayed solid on his foreign policy.

    October 30, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. keeth

    Uh, so what happens when he's in the White House and has to talk directly to the American people and to leaders of other nations? You can't just keep paying people to make commercials that speak for you. At some point, you have to speak for yourself and get it right the first time.

    October 30, 2011 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  24. redman71786

    What a big boy! Mamma always said, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to.

    October 30, 2011 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  25. Bushper

    The wider America is now finding out what Texans have known all along,that gov Perry avoids debates as well as the press in Texas and have managed to get away with it. But being a fool gov Perry can't tell the difference between national and local Texas politics.

    October 30, 2011 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |