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. Mike

    I bet many Republicans are regretting not voting for him in 2012. He would have been a strong candidate since he actually is proud to stand up for his values and has a strong record of achievements in Texas.

    July 8, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. drinker75

    He will never be elected president. Times are changing and he's not one to look to for the future!

    July 8, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  3. Stevez-Art!

    He needs to get out of politics and go the way other another infamous Texas politician, who I will not name, and just keep quiet especially since neither of them have anything of intelligence to say!!

    July 8, 2013 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  4. Richard

    Him running in 2016? He didn't measure up politically as the Governor of a major state in 2012. What's he going to do as a has-been in 2016? Far better to accept the sheltered employment as a Fox "news analyst." just like Mike Huckabee and Sara Palin. Personally I'm sorry to see him go–he really helped cement the Republican image in the country's mind and win votes for the Democrats!.

    July 8, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. z2cents

    Sad day for the entertainment industry and us consumers of The Rick Perry comedy show. This is Texas and am sure the one to follow will be no less of an entertainer.

    July 8, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. Wing Ding

    at last, some good news today. Of course given what TX is capable of doing they might "soil" themselves again with another dolt.

    July 8, 2013 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  7. ritmocojo

    Now he can be a full-time snake charmer at his church of choice.

    July 8, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. greasemonkey

    Wendy Davis spoke eloquently for 11 strait hours......Rick was unable to remember his own three point plan............It is far more likely that she will be President some day than this stammering fool.

    July 8, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    It's about time. Halleluyah.

    July 8, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  10. Texan

    I am so glad he ran for president. The whole country got to see what a dumb azz he is and what he had to put up with for 13 years

    July 8, 2013 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  11. Scott in Austin

    As a sixth generation Texas whose great, great, great grand dad was the wagon master at the Battle of San Jacinto, let me loudly proclaim my utter delight that we won’t have this fool representing Texas anymore. 13 years has been entirely too long to have to deal with him. Texas now has 1 in 4 living below the poverty line, 1 in 4 with no health insurance, education budgets were slashed by $5 billion, women’s reproductive rights are under assault, Perry cronies have been enriched at Texas taxpayer expense…….it’s time to elect a progressive and begin repairing the damage done.

    July 8, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. USVET

    Ben, You comment about about most of the postings being about social issues, well I got one for you...last year I wrote Perry about closing a loophole in Texas Family law that allows Bigamists to profit from their crimes. No response from him And Dewhurst said any legislation would be considered if it was submitted. Even my own Republican representative would not submit the legislation. Instead they focused on limiting abortion. It didn't matter that criminals were allowed to benefit from their crimes if they hid it long enough and could potentially "steal" an inheritance from rightful heirs as a result of their crimes. Personally, I feel that preventing and punishing crime was more important that than removing a woman's right to choice whether to have an abortion or not. Apparently Republican's felt that preventing crime and punishing criminals wasn't important enough an issue to pursue. So if you feel that it's alright for a criminal to "steal" your part of an inheritance that's your choice. I however, feel that I have been robbed by the bigamist and the legislature as a result of their failure to address the loophole.

    July 8, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. budshot

    Gee, who will be the next intellectually-challenged governor of Texas. They really set the bar super-low for the last two they've had.

    July 8, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. jboh

    Maybe now he will just dry up and blow away like Texas dust in hot air.

    July 8, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. svscnn

    Woohoo! This can only mean that he's gearing up for another run at POTUS – should make for another hilarious round of unintentional stupidity during the debates.

    Gotta love it.

    July 8, 2013 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. freeme10

    Do you swear, Gov. Perry? Just so you know, no crosses count and no take backs.

    Sorry, this is the only way I know how to negotiate with a child.

    July 8, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. Woody Hilliard

    OMG, could this mean the whole nation will be subjected to his buffoonery in a run for President? I hope the lack of support for him among even the teabaggers will dissuade him. As an independent, I'd really like a sane choice be available to choose from in 2016 but if the likes of Perry,Palin or Ron Paul are the Republican flag bearers............

    July 8, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  18. Mark

    Because he know's we in Texas have had enough of his crap.

    July 8, 2013 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  19. billleesbrain

    No Rick? No Michele? No Sarah? Thank goodness we still have Todd Akin!

    July 8, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. ORION77

    I would love to never hear of him again ... If only the world could be so lucky !

    July 8, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  21. M. Broughton

    Hot damn! I thought he’d never go away. Too bad he’s delusional and thinks he has a chance at the White House.

    July 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. B. Frank

    Please, please run for president.

    My comment is awaiting moderation.

    July 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  23. Be Sane

    This is the best news I've heard for soooooooooooooooooo long! Go on Rick and run for President AGAIN and make a fool of yourself AGAIN.
    At least you won't be embarrassing Texas anymore.
    Native Texan.

    July 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  24. Phil

    People just had best make sure he doesn't get into the white house then. If he does decide to run watch for the republican party to staunchly back him, just saying...

    July 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  25. Ray

    Best news I read all day. This guy is way too extreme to get elected. There are far too many moderates on both sides that would ever vote for him.

    July 8, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
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