ShareThis Page
Nation

Perry says he's ready for debate showdown

| Monday, Oct. 31, 2011

WASHINGTON — Rick Perry on Sunday sought to reassure GOP primary voters concerned about his wobbly presidential debate performances, saying he would draw sharp distinctions with the Democratic incumbent in televised showdowns next year.

"I'm not worried a bit that I'll be able to stand on the stage with Barack Obama and draw a very bright line," Perry said.

The Texas governor, driving for front-runner status as the most viable conservative in the wide-open field, offered up samples of the scathing rhetoric he uses against the president, from the economy to war policy and personal credibility.

Perry defended his voluntary flat-tax proposal and the notion that it could bring in trillions of dollars less in revenue than the current tax code.

"There's nothing wrong with lower revenue," he said. "I don't want more revenue in Washington, D.C.'s hands. I want more revenue in the private sector job creators' hands."

The tough talk occurred as Perry manages the fallout from his debate performances and the GOP candidates fight to lead the pack in Iowa two months before the first voting of 2012 begins there.

There is no clear leader in that contest. A Des Moines Register poll on Saturday showed former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain at the head of the pack, with the support of 23 percent of respondents. Ex-Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was next with 22 percent.

Perry, who rated 7 percent in that survey, has taken a particularly steep fall since announcing his candidacy in August, struggling through parts of five debates and dogged especially by Romney.

How, he was asked on "Fox News Sunday," would he perform against the erudite Obama in a general election next year?

What counts, Perry said, is how a candidate would govern.

"We got a great debater, a smooth politician in the White House right now, that's not working really good for America," Perry said.

Perry plans to attend of the debates scheduled in November, as well as a December one. "With as many debates as we got coming up, I may end up being a pretty good debater before it's all been said and done," he said.

On Iraq and Afghanistan, Perry accused Obama of pursuing an "aimless foreign policy" by making big decisions without adequately considering the advice of his commanders. He said the president has endangered Americans on the ground by announcing that U.S. troops would leave Iraq by year's end.

"He has lost his standing from the standpoint of being a commander in chief who has any idea about what's going on in those theaters," Perry said.

For his part, the president has mostly stayed out of the GOP nomination fight.

"I'm going to wait until everyone is voted off the island," he told "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno earlier in the week.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me