Perry says it was a ‘mistake’ for him to participate in 2012 debates

Holly Bailey
The Ticket

Many political observers agree that Rick Perry's dismal debate performances have helped spark his dramatic collapse in recent polls. Now, not surprisingly, the Republican presidential hopeful insists his biggest mistake in the campaign so far was agreeing to participate in the forums at all.

"These debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. It's pretty hard to be able to sit and lay out your ideas and your concepts with a one-minute response," the Texas governor told Fox News's Bill O'Reilly. "So, you know, if there was a mistake made, it was probably ever doing one of the [debates], when all they're interested in is stirring up between the candidates instead of really talking about the issues that are important to the American people."

But Perry also conceded he had made mistakes during the debates, including when he said critics of a push he led in Texas to allow the children of illegal immigrants to attend state colleges and universities at in-state tuition rates did not "have a heart."

"I used the wrong word there," Perry admitted.

The governor largely used the appearance to trash his opponent Mitt Romney, essentially admitting there is no love lost between the two. Asked about tension between the two, Perry at first insisted he didn't know if "there's a strain."

But it didn't take long for Perry to twist the knife, admitting that he and Romney don't quite see eye to eye.

There's certainly a difference of opinion about philosophically where you stand,'' Perry said. "I mean, you can't change from one election to another."

Asked if he "likes" Romney, Perry didn't quite answer and used the question to again hit his rival as a flip-flopper.

"You can't be for banning guns and then all of a sudden you're, you know, for the Second Amendment. You can't be for the issue of abortion, then you're pro-life," Perry said. "How do you change at the age of 50 or 60 positions on life, positions on guns, positions on traditional marriage. I mean those aren't minor issues . . . . So to change those at the age of 50 or 60 tells you all you need to know about that."

Watch the interview below.

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