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. biglio

    typical Rebublican...now he leaves a state with a huge mess in their finances for his successor to clean up, riding in the sunset in a cloud of fake marketing touting how good he was for Texas......reminds me another ex-governor......both intellectually challenged and able to inflict great harm on the populace with a smile on their face, not for evilness but by sheer lack of intellectual ability to understand the amount of damage they had done......years of lean cows are waiting for Texas as his successor will have to clean up the mess.....

    July 8, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  2. surfdog11

    I think he should have been aborted at birth. It took too many years and cost too many lives to discover that not every chromosome pairs up. And he replaced W after 2000: not exactly big shoes to fill. Get ready for the huge demographic shift Texas! It's Alamo time all over again.

    July 8, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  3. AprilElaine

    BEST NEWS Ive heard all day! Thank you Jesus! 🙂

    July 8, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. GIUK

    Texas losses a sad excuse for a governor, but the fast food industry gains another burger flipper. It's a win-win!

    July 8, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Another right winged NAZI bites the dust..

    July 8, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Emmett O'Riley


    Look again, those jobs he brought to Texas are mostly part-time service industry jobs.

    Good riddance.

    July 8, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. LouAZ

    Parry was 4 term Governor of Tejas ? Couldn't have happened to a more deserving group of christian terrorist.

    July 8, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  8. Kathleen Farrell

    Dear Brian in DC:

    Bureau Of Labor Statistics: At $49,047, Texas' Median Income Is Below National Average.
    Bureau Of Labor Statistics: Texas Has Highest Percentage Of Minimum-Wage Workers In U.S. minimum wage workers. [
    U.S. Census Bureau: Texas Poverty Rate 2.7 Percentage Points Higher Than National Average. Center On Budget And Policy Priorities: Texas Has 7th Highest Income Inequality Ratio In U.S

    July 8, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. yogi

    @ Dave: "His main reason for changing party was to further his political career in Texas."
    That tells you a lot about the electorate in Texas, and Perry's fit in that state, nowhere else would this man have a chance to run for any office as a Democrat.
    Perry is a prime example how stupidity in the republican party is glorified.

    July 8, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. FactCheck

    =Please= let him run. With Michele and Sarah off stage, we are at risk of having no clowns in the race.

    July 8, 2013 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Rosslaw

    Ok Texas, you thought Shrub was just what you needed for two terms, then three terms of the very "special" Rick Perry seemed like a great idea. If this continues, would you mind considering that secession thing again. You might find a country full of of people who would like to assist in any way.

    July 8, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. ilovemycop

    Attorney General Gregg Abbot for Governor!!

    July 8, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. mouse234

    faux news just got another contributor!!

    July 8, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Mary in Dallas

    Thank goodness! Rick Perry has been an embarrassment to entire Lone Star State, in my opinion. He makes George W. Bush (as governor of Texas) look good by comparison, and that's saying something!

    July 8, 2013 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  15. bkemp

    good ridance....I hear FAUX News will have an opening very soon for Billy Oreallys slot...right next to the one that Sara Palin will be in to replace horse faced Coulter...

    July 8, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. n2video

    "opens the door to speculation that Perry will make another bid for the White House, in 2016."


    July 8, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |

    I live in Texas, I'm a high school dropout and I make six figures... try doing that in a blue state. Love or hate Rick, his policies are pretty good $$$$.

    July 8, 2013 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Michael

    This is the ONLY good news that I have ever heard about my state's governor. I only wish it had come much sooner!

    July 8, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. honestmidwest

    Well, at least this dolt won't be embarrassing our country any longer (I hope). I think most people viewed him as a complete joke and it certainly didn't fair well for their state. One can only hope that next time Texas will pay more attention to whom they actually vote for.

    July 8, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Jabando

    Perhaps he will seek employment in the private sector.. he seems fully qualified to be a greeter at Wal-Mart or a burger flipper... I do think its clear that this gubernator is leaving a significant mess to clean up in finances and infrastructure... I am fair certain he has not been good for Texas regardless of his propaganda machine.

    July 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  21. Kingfish

    I'm grateful that the comments thus far recognize reality. Finally a blog that sees a rat as the rat before he could do more harm

    July 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Fed Up

    Those of you making disparaging remarks about TEXAS, remember this: We have a budget surplus, low unemployment rate, no state income tax, and many other great things going on here! And that is with a HUGE immigration problem that is not being addressed by the feds. It costs TEXAS BILLIONS to deal with the illegals-food stamps, health care, housing, jails, among other welfare programs. And we still have a surplus! We certainly are no California! Heck, Californians are moving here in droves! As well as people from other states. I just hope they don't bring their liberal ideas here! You know, the ones that didn't work back in their home state. TEXAS and Gov Perry are not perfect by any means, there are many things we can improve on. But we are far better off than most states in the union!

    July 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. BJACK

    @surfdog11 what whould we have done for laughs all these years? I'm happy in Texas today with this news, let the rumble begin....

    July 8, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. ted

    Yeah, he will probably be in the GOP clown car in 2016 along with Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann

    July 8, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Jay

    It's about time and not a moment too soon!!! As for his presidential aspirations, forget about it!!!

    July 8, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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