Perry: Poor debate performances due to fundraising pressure

Caroline May | Reporter

GOP presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has been severely criticized for several clumsy debate performances.

On Wednesday night Perry offered an explanation to conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity about why he stumbled in past debates.

“I think the first 100 days is just a sprint to raise money. I mean that is what we were doing,” Perry said. “We were spending a lot of time raising money because we knew we had to. We had, I think, four debates during that period of time and frankly I didn’t have time to prepare for those debates — obviously it showed.”

Perry raised $17 million in the third quarter.

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He’s no fan of debates and will have to practice more, Perry said, but he noted that Americans are less interested in a smooth presentation — taking a swipe at Obama — and more interested in substance.

“I hate debates,” he said. “I hate debates worse than I did spinning when I was a pilot in the United States Air Force. But you know what, I practiced enough that I got pretty good at it — so there’ll be plenty of debates, but here’s what people are interested in: we’ve got a great debater in the White House, slick politician, and our country is really paying a great price for that.”

The Texas governor added that over the coming days he will continue to push his no-nonsense plans for Washington, saying that is what voters really want to see.

“Americans are looking for somebody who’s consistent, they are looking for somebody who’s honest,” he said. “They are looking for somebody that’s tough as nails, somebody that’ll take a wrecking ball to Washington, D.C. and say, ‘you know what, that’s all over with, we’re fixin’ to cut spending — here’s a plan to deal with taxes, which we do with our 20 percent flat tax.’”

When asked if he will be able to stand up to the current White House occupant in a debate, Perry was adamant that he’d be up to the task.

“I look forward to being on the stage with Obama. I will promise you I will love to be on the stage with Obama talking about, ‘How in the world did you lose two and a half million jobs? How did you waste $4 trillion, Mr. President?’” he said.

According to Perry, Obama might be a great salesman, but he is is a lousy president.

“This is a president that gives a great presentation, he is slick as he can be — a great debater,” Perry admitted. “But the fact is, he has been an absolute disaster as a president of the United States.”

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