Texas Governor Rick Perry, after considering skipping some debates, has signed up to be in the next five debates. In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Perry talked about his debate performances and his new tax plan.
“I readily admit I'm not the best debater in the world,” Perry said. “As many debates as we got coming up, I may end up a pretty good debater when it's all said and done.”
Perry climbed to the lead in national polls when he first entered the race, but after several poor debate performances, he saw poll numbers decline dramatically. He is currently in single digits and fourth or fifth place in most national polls.
His campaign had talked about skipping some of the future debates and Perry complained that the debates focus on irrelevant issues and do not give the candidates enough time to explain their plans. Over the weekend, however, Perry signed up for the next five debates, which includes all the debates scheduled for November and December.
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace told Perry that some Republican voters would want a candidate who could perform well in the debates against President Obama, and would have concerns about Perry because of his debate performances.
“We got a great debater, a smooth politician in the White House right now,” Perry said. “That's not working out very good for America. If you want to know how somebody's gonna perform in the future, take a look at their past. As governor of the state of Texas, we created more jobs in the state than any other state in the country.”
Perry was also asked about his new tax plan, which would allow taxpayers to pay a 20 percent flat tax, or stay in the current tax system. Wallace pointed out that conservative economists estimate that, even with the additional revenue generated from the economic growth that tax cuts would provide, there would still be less revenue for the federal government.
“There's nothing wrong with lower revenue,” Perry answered. “I think Americans are ready for Washington D.C. to quit spending money.”
Wallace interrupted to ask what that would mean for the nation's deficits.
“We will pay off that deficit. Our plan balances this budget in 2020 and we will pay off that debt,” Perry said.
Perry's tax plan would give large tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, Wallace pointed out, and asked, “When the rich are getting a lot richer, and the middle class are struggling, why don't you care about tax fairness?”
Perry answered that his focus is on job creation. “Everybody gets a tax cut here. Historically, those who have more money, put more into their businesses, they hire more people. That's what we need to be focused on. How do you give more incentives to the job creators in this country?
“You got the president, some people out there, that want to talk about class warfare, that the rich are gonna have more money or what have you. I'm interested in individuals that are going to invest in this country, have the confidence that an environment has been created, that they're gonna be able to keep more of what they work for. When they do that, they'll invest in companies and create jobs. That's what this debate ought to stay on, not creating class warfare.”
Perry also said that he has changed his position on tax subsidies and credits for energy sector companies. “I've learned some things over the course of the years, and the federal government, by and large, you keep them out of these issues, particularly on the energy side.”
Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney are in a statistical dead heat for the lead in most national polls, and in Iowa, the nation's first caucus state. Many are wondering if Perry can regain his former status as the main opposition to Romney.
Fox News and NPR political commentator Mara Liasson does not seem to think so. “It's a cliché to say you don't get a second chance to make a first impression, but Perry is really, really suffering from his first impression,” she said on “Fox News Sunday.”