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. t3chn0ph0b3

    Bye, bye, Perry. Good riddance. There's no way you're getting elected president, so this is it.

    July 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Anthony Harwood

    Actually his time has long passed. Buh-bye!!

    July 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    The job offer from McDonald's must of come through... they were needing a new Ronald

    July 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. ghostwriter

    Please let him run for president. I couldn't get enough of stupid republicans the last time.

    OK, that is mad selfish. He shouldn't run, nor should most of the republicans slated to run. We don't need to continue to dumb down the process anymore than it already has.

    July 8, 2013 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  5. Hooper

    I'll bet this corn fed creep runs for prez. He believes he's got what it takes to be the leader of the nation. After all, he kinda resembles a game show host.

    July 8, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. The realist

    There's something fishy.. Either he's gay, embezzling, or something extramarital......

    July 8, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. polijukie

    Woo hoo, there's a God. Enough embarrassing my state, pushing unrealistic curriculum, cutting health care for kids, education funds, bypassing regulations, cutting mental health care funds, push faith based needs over societal needs.

    July 8, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. jofb716

    I heard he's putting together an exploratory committee to determine how he can best waste millions of dollars in 2016.

    July 8, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. brian in dc

    For getting his state to the top of the US economic food chain he must be a horrible governor.

    July 8, 2013 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Texhimself

    He is the worst of the old time Texas wingnuts. Dumber than a box of rocks but a master cronyist and hand shaker.

    July 8, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Yeeha!

    Get along, little dogie.

    July 8, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. Sick Rantorum

    Couldn't Perry have announced this before the 4th? Or was he hoping to get a few executions in before he made the announcement?

    July 8, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. brian in dc

    Obama would have been a much better governor, just look at the economic accomplishments he currently has. (sarc/off)

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Fawn Zion

    Thank goodness he wont be our "leader" anymore, that man is trying to turn the clock backwards instead of forwards. The LAST thing America needs is him as president!

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. FredFunk

    Can you imagine the attack ads if he ran form POTUS? Just him blubbering his way through the debates would be high comedy.

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  16. Big_D

    Maybe if the GOP supports him after he alienated so many women that the Libertarians can grow a pair and run without the GOP.

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  17. John Smith

    This is a bright day for Texas. Please do everyone a favor and drop off the face of the Earth forever.

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  18. bibleverse1

    I hope he is not thinking of running for POTUS. He would not be a good candidate. The next republican candidate must have national appeal and ability to get moderates and young on board. The republicans should look for smart latina woman for candidate.

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  19. Liz

    If the Republican's want even a decent shot at the presidency they should bar or beg people like Rick Perry to not even bother running for President.

    July 8, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    The only man to ever make "W" look smart!

    July 8, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. Tom

    Rick Perry is a joke.

    July 8, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  22. ronny

    worst texas has ever had.rick perry.we need to legalize gambling and weed.i will vote for that.

    July 8, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Native Texan

    He's just 8 years too late in making this decision.

    July 8, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Maine liberal

    The Rickster is ruuning for the President of USTexas

    July 8, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. rosie

    Wendy Davis took him down. hahahahahahahaha.

    July 8, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
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