GRAY COURT, SC - OCTOBER 25: Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry in Gray Court, South Carolina (Richard Ellis/GETTY IMAGES)

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.”