July 8th, 2013
02:17 PM ET
10 years ago

Ex-advisers hint at future as Perry announces exit as governor

San Antonio, TX (CNN) - Rick Perry may be giving up what he called "the greatest job in modern politics." But he's not leaving the Texas-sized political stage that launched his last run for the White House anytime soon.

After an event Monday in San Antonio where he announced he will not be seeking a fourth term as Texas governor, Perry was asked what he plans on doing with the time off he has coming.

"No time off man. What are you talking about? You weren't paying attention in there," Perry told CNN.

During a 15-minute speech thanking his family and supporters, Perry vowed to stay busy around the Texas state house. He repeatedly referred to the fight over abortion rights currently consuming the capitol in Austin.

But the Texas governor offered few clues about his political future, despite billing Monday's announcement as an unveiling of "exciting" plans.

Perry seemed prepared to announce only that he would "pray and reflect and work to determine" what comes next.

"Any future considerations I will announce in due time and I will arrive at that decision appropriately," Perry told the crowd.

Perry: 2016 ‘certainly an option’

Perry's reluctance or unwillingness to reveal any upcoming plans stunned some in the San Antonio crowd.

"Not making future announcement. Wow," Matt Mackowiak, an Austin-based Republican strategist tweeted from the event.

Still, the campaign-style video that played on the jumbo screen before Perry's remarks left no doubt the Texas Governor and his team believe they still have a story to tell.

Touting the state's robust job growth over glossy film images of the stark Texan landscape and people, Perry brags in a long Lone Star drawl, "Texas is not merely strong but exceptional."

"It's obviously on his mind," said one former Perry staffer at the San Antonio event, referring to the possibility of another run for the White House.

"The sky's the limit," said another Perry loyalist, before conceding some Republicans would have to get over other "remembrances."

That was a reference to the near implosion of Perry's last campaign during his disastrous November 2011 GOP debate in Michigan. The Texas Governor famously forgot the third of three departments of the federal government he would eliminate as president. "Oops," Perry finally said, after failing to jog his memory in an excruciating and unforgettable television moment.

After that night, Perry pressed on only to stumble through the early primary and caucus states before bowing out in South Carolina.

The Texas governor has tried at times to explain his dismal 2012 performance. He has lamented his late entry into the race.

Still, Perry barreled into the 2012 race as an instant threat to eventual Republican nominee Mitt Romney's front-runner status. Now, as governor for the next 18 months, Perry would still have access to a potent donor base.

Perry acknowledged he is keeping an eye on 2016 in an interview on Fox News Sunday. "Certainly, that's an option out there," Perry told Fox News.

In deciding against a fourth bid for governor, Perry has now paved the way for Texas Attorney General, Greg Abbott to run for and likely win the state's Republican gubernatorial nomination. State Senator Wendy Davis, D-Fort Worth, who last month filibustered a bill to restrict abortion rights in Texas, is frequently mentioned as a potential Democratic contender.

Several GOP strategists in the room at Perry's San Antonio event expect Abbott to make a formal announcement as soon as this weekend. Perry's decision to omit specific mentions about any future plans may have been out of courtesy to Abbott.

There were other notable faces in the crowd. Lee Majors, the star of the 70's era action show, "The Six Million Dollar Man," was also in attendance.

The sight of the actor who played the fictional astronaut, given super human strength after a near-death experience, invited some observers to wonder whether the same can be done for Perry's political career.

It's Perry's life that has been the stuff of Hollywood. Raised in the tiny town of Paint Creek, Perry rose to become the state's longest-serving governor. He assumed the governorship in December 2000, when George W. Bush stepped down to become president. Perry was elected to full four-year terms in 2002, 2006 and 2010.

"It's been an improbable journey," Perry told the crowd.

Filed under: 2014 • 2016 • Rick Perry
soundoff (324 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Just wait and see – he's going to start running for POTUS again.

    July 8, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. SB

    Sad day for Texas, hopefully some as wise and gracious as he will replace him.

    July 8, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. yogi

    He's a good governor. He created a LOT of jobs in a time of economic down turn. I did not agree with some of his decisions, but by and large he has done good things for our state.

    I think it's funny how many people are down on him when they're not even residents of Texas.
    Yes, it is hard to believe that there are actually people in the United States (which still includes Texas) who are actually informed on what is going on in the world, and yes, we feel sorry for people like you.

    July 8, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. BigdaddyUSA

    Maybe he could pick Palin for his VP.

    July 8, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Peter Bishop

    Thanks Governor Perry for great years.

    July 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Craig from Pa.

    This clown needs booted out of politics and needs to get a REAL job....never did anything else and he sucks at it....most people realize that on the national level and he stands a snowballs chance in hell at the presidency!

    July 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  7. Dennis McEwen

    I hope he runs for the presidency, as he's COMPLETELY unelectable and every dollar spent on his campaign is $1 less that might go to a GOP candidate with a chance of winning.

    So please, Mr. Governor, makes this Liberal's day and tell me that at least of the GOP's buffoons from the 2012 will be eating up campaign dollars again in 2016!

    July 8, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  8. ljjm

    "The time has come to pass on the mantle of leadership," he said.

    It's way past time, if you ask me, Rick.

    There is a God!

    July 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    I was about to say, "good news for the people of Texas" - but then I realized that if they could elect this doofus three times, and "W" before him, well what hope is there for the people of Texas?

    July 8, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. deejer

    I was about to say, "good news for the people of Texas" - but then I realized that if they could elect this doofus three times, and "W" before him, well what hope is there for the people of Texas?

    July 8, 2013 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  11. ljjm

    Darnell–He only "balanced" the budget by moving funds from one place to another.

    July 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. sw

    Now, if we could only get Rick Scott to follow suit.

    July 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Jersey Bob

    The fact that Texas has enough morons to have voted for this fool 3 times before demonstrates the need for school reform in that particular state. And that he followed that other moron Bush exemplifies the need to ensure no more Texans run for anything more lofty than garbage collector. So let Perry run for president again and show the world why LBJ was that last decent president from the state of Texas. Open mouth insert whole leg this time

    July 8, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Rod

    Just like most politians Rick had good and bad days as Governor of Texas.....a state in which I resides, and was born. I am glad to see Rick go ahead and move on to other life endeavors...hopefully not the White House. His type of BULLY methods has no place in politics today. For you all who think he has done great things for the economy...well you're gladly mistaken. Our economy hasn't grown as it should have with the potential this great state has shown in the past. Perry has lured some major corporations to Texas with promises of tax-breaks that was then force on the local cities with no reimbursement from the state. So, that action of shifting the burden counteracts the growth of the economy. It is better suited with greater success when the Mayor of the cities solicit and win big corporation then an out-of-touch governor. The Texas debt has grown each year under his leadership.....even though we may not be in the red....we now take in less money while spending more money on his crazy ideas. Our funding for education has dropped year over year to one of the lowest in the U.S. So....where does he think our next great Texans will come from if he doesn't believe in education. He had a scandal in his administration with buying of prime properties for ten cents on the dollar to be sold at a 450% markup. He had a scandal of signing contracts with certain companies in Santo Domingo and Santiago without apporval....nor consulting with the Texas Senate or House. Oh yeah, there is your outsourcing. Not to mention of his refusal to dip into the Rainy day fund to keep from cutting certain projects and services. As well as his audacity to rent a house that ran taxpayers $32k per month while the governor mansion was in repair. So....his time is long overdue, and today he has done this great state a huge favor by allowing someone with fresher ideas to step in to lead the state.

    Even though I agree on the abortion issue and choose life..... I don't agree with his practice to get the law pass. Just as he tried to force the HPV vaccine on the state a few years back. And....by the way, it was later found out that a close family friend of his was a high-ranking Executive Officer of that Pharmaceutical company.

    July 8, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. John Hupfer

    Yippeeeeee! Finally, some good news on a Monday!

    July 8, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  16. Diesel

    And the crowd goes wild!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 8, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. Dial-do

    This man is far worse than Obama. Everything he ever said was a lie. Every single thing. There never lived a greater BS artist anywhere. The fact Texans kept voting for this dipstick tells you a lot about them as well.

    July 8, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  18. admiralbrown

    I think the best statement I ever heard to describe Governor Perry was if he and George W Bush were brothers, George would be known as the smart one.

    July 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  19. Thinkergal

    Perry is now awaiting an offer from Fox Noise...oops!

    July 8, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |

    Calif. now has a surplus due to Democratic control. You have drunk way too much koolaid....

    July 8, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  21. Dial-do

    In the land of blind people one-eyed man is the king.

    July 8, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. mabel floyd

    thank God-no more perry -i hope to never see that dunce's face again.
    to those people who said they hope he runs for pres. because no way he could win-i said that when regan ran. i said no way anyone is going to vote for a class b movie "star"-i though running regan was a joke-now i know better than to count on the american people to never elect a joke-

    July 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. Jimi Crack Corn

    We can only hope this severely retarded jackhole runs for the presidency again pointing out how the GOP remains stuck in the 19th, if not the 18th, century.

    July 8, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. Mark

    Just as long as he stays in Texas, I don't care what he does.

    July 8, 2013 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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