Rick Perry, whose debate performances have provided the cast of Saturday Night Live with a few seasons worth of material, seems to have decided that going forward he will skip the debate stage and head straight to the hustings instead.
Perry, who has plummeted to single digits in the most recent CNN/Time poll of early states, has said the debates aren’t his strong suit, but that voters aren’t looking for the slickest debater but the strongest commander-in-chief.
Yet, by ducking debates, a strategy that worked in Texas, Perry will only fuel the narrative that he isn’t up to the challenge. The next debate is scheduled for Nov. 9 in Michigan and a string of debates remain on the GOP calendar. A Perry aide said that for the Texas governor, it’s not a matter of a lack of desire to verbally engage with his rivals under the glare of the TV cameras or having enough prep time, it’s a matter of scheduling.
“We’re about 60 days away from votes being cast,” Ray Sullivan, a Perry aide said on CNN. “The candidates need to spend time in Iowa doing those town halls and spending a lot more time with the voters, who oftentimes have the best questions and press the candidates the hardest.”