Perry's back surgery didn't ail him before it did
December 14th, 2011
11:02 AM ET
9 years ago

Perry's back surgery didn't ail him before it did

(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has conflicting descriptions about uneven debate performances in the early days of his campaign.

In an interview late Tuesday, Perry admitted if he could do things differently, he'd have thought more about when to have surgery on his back.

Asked if criticism over his debating skills made him think twice about jumping into the race –and early debates– Perry said his timing was off, but not when it came to becoming a candidate for the GOP 2012 nomination for president.

"If there's one thing that I could change in my campaign I would've moved that surgery I had the first of July back to the first of January," Perry said in an interview on Fox News.

"I didn't realize it was going to have as big an impact and frankly I didn't even know it was having the impact it was having on me–from the standpoint of just being fatigued–and it showed up in the first few debates," the governor explained.

But six days ago Perry said his health wasn't a factor at all in his performance, or in the notable "oops" moment he experienced during a presidential debate when he forgot the third government agency he'd cut if elected president.

"I had a spine surgery on the first of July and had - my adult stem cells actually were extracted and used in an incredibly successful surgery," Perry told CNN's "The Situation Room" anchor Wolf Blitzer.

"I'm back running again, 3 to 4 miles, 4 to 5 times a week. And I was off for 10 weeks. I probably took pain medication for the first 10 days, two weeks and after that, the surgery has been awesome."

And Perry placed the blame for his brain freeze on long hours logged on the campaign trail.

"That was probably too many days on the road. It had nothing to do with medication," he said.

One thing has remained the same. In an effort to diffuse the importance of debates –which showcase the flaws and strengths of the 2012 field in opposition to one another– Perry played up his efforts on the trail.

"Retail campaigning is what I love," he told Blitzer. "You know, debating is - is some great reality TV, but the Americans want to see their candidates out talking about the issues and what's really important to them."

And Tuesday, he explained away media attention to his lapse saying, "I think Americans are plenty wise to the game the biased liberal media plays."

Moving forward, Perry said he expects his debating will improve.

"I think you've seen a glimpse of what you can expect from me now in that last debate in Iowa."

Watch The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer weekdays at 4pm to 6pm ET and Saturdays at 6pm ET. For the latest from The Situation Room click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Content Partner • Debate • Rick Perry • TV-The Situation Room
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. MTATL67

    Blame and excuses – This is exactly part of the problem with politicians today especially Republicans.

    December 14, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  2. Not All Docs Play Golf

    The fact that Perry opted for a non-approved, alternative-medicine surgical procedure is another testament to his wackiness.

    December 14, 2011 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  3. v_mag

    Perry had his spine removed and a yellow stripe painted down the middle of his back. (Too obvious a joke. I'm sorry.)

    December 14, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  4. steven harnack

    Oh that "biased liberal media" that conservative politicians crave the attention of. They just have to stick that in there in every interview with the "Biased liberal media", don't they? Wait just a minute! If the media all had a liberal bias we never would have seen or heard that phrase, would we?

    December 14, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  5. Noodle Nose Johnson

    Were you lying then or are you lying now, Rick? Oh never mind, it's all lies.

    December 14, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  6. ART

    He really should of conferred with God the almighty as to when he should have had the surgery, and now he needs to ask God when is the right time for him to pull out of the campaign and stop making a fool out of himself.

    December 14, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. Newt 2012

    @MTATL67 but it is ok if Obama promises and don't deliver? You are a two faced individual.

    December 14, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  8. SecedingfromTexas

    Still auditioning for a job at Fox. He is as dillusional as they are, so he would fit right in.

    December 14, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Moving forward, Perry said he expects his debating will improve."

    Moving forward, I expect we'll soon be seeing Perry back in Texas again - permanently. Ah, Ricky. We hardly knew you, and what little we saw of you was priceless.

    December 14, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Larry L

    It sounds like Perry is trying to say his meds were responsible for all of the stupid comments and dull behavior. As a Texan I can tell you if that is true, he's been on those meds for at least nine years. His supporters also appear to use the same meds.

    December 14, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. Rudy NYC

    "biased liberal media"
    Is it me, or is almost all of the wind driving the political divide in this country really coming out of right field?

    December 14, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. SDG66

    Perry keeps digging his own political grave deeper and deeper by continuing to run his mouth. He's clearly in love with himself, but Rick, you had more than one chance and you blew them all, big time. We're just not into you any more.

    December 14, 2011 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. once upon a horse

    well Gov Perry if God did indeed call you to run for POTUS then I'm sure HE will work things out for you. So far I think that voice you heard in your head that day wasn't the Almighty but maybe you were half-asleep and left a cartoon show on television.

    December 14, 2011 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I would say by 2032, Perry will have that debating stuff down pat. I see the right wingnuts are really getting worried that foreign owned media, Fox, is reporting the annual war on Christmas lies.

    December 14, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. manhandler

    I forgot the third one...."oh my back, my back!"

    December 14, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Lynda/Minnesota

    "biased liberal media"
    Is it me, or is almost all of the wind driving the political divide in this country really coming out of right field?"

    Rudy, shhh! It's a well kept "biased liberal media" secret. Let's keep it that way .... especially on a RICK PERRY thread. You know how tempermental they get.

    December 14, 2011 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    What makes a conservative two-faced is that they refuse to vote for any job creating measures like the stimulus, but take credit for the jobs it created.

    December 14, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Now let me get this straight.
    His back was hurtin' him before it was not hurtin' him after it started before it wasn't hurtin' him.
    Got it.

    December 14, 2011 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Sniffit

    Huh. Suprising, really. All this time I thought he was totally insensate and bereft of sentience, somewhat like a sea cucumber, and here he is claiming he can perceive pain. It's almost like he's a Turing Machine presenting us with the conundrum of whether something that responds to a particular stimulus necessarily must be sentient or engaging in a "throught process" or not.

    December 14, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  20. beevee

    This guy is a joke. With all his health and intellectual problems one should think twice before casting their vote to this guy. Is he up to the task? No.

    December 14, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. The Film Professor

    Boooring. Has there EVER been a more insincere candidate than Mitt Romney? Now he's going to pander to the uber-conservative, KNOW NOTHING Repugs who don't believe in global warming? Come on MItt - stupid Repugs are going to vote for Rick Perry anyway, since he already has a lock on Idiot in Chief.

    December 14, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    tykl wrote:

    @Wire Palladin, S.F. – do you have a point or just saying whatever comes off the top of your head? Did you help pay for BO's banner to fly over NY today? Good use for 10k. Romney has a resume to run this country that dwarfs BO's to oblivion
    I think the points are valid enough for you to ignore them and digress into personal attacks. Score: Wire 1 = tykl 0.

    And, yes, I did help pay for that banner that flew over NY today if was paid for by the DNC. It provided some work for somebody. If Romney's resume is all that good, then why doesn't he point to specific examples? Romney was a salesman at a company that sold money for profit, which is the epitome of capitalism. He's pure plutocrat, not democrat.

    December 14, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  23. Derek

    Nice that he has such good health insurance in a state with one of the worst records for people having health insurance.

    December 14, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  24. Will Fraser

    Rick is dumber than a stump but definitely a class A bully.
    Aggie all the way.

    December 14, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. Thomas

    Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected President during the Great Depression and led this country. Suffering permanent paralysis do to Polio that crippled him. Few Americans were ever aware of FDR's disability and the pain he suffered.

    Rick Perry is a sniveler , he's the last person I want as President . One needs to wonder what would happen to Perry's IQ if he had underwent hemorrhoidal surgery ?

    Rick Perry / Tom Delay


    December 14, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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