DES MOINES -- Speaking at an education forum in Des Moines Tuesday afternoon, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has suffered from lackluster performances in Republican presidential debates, said flatly, "I hate debates."
"I hate debates like I used to hate spinning in an aircraft, T-37s," said Perry, a former Air Force pilot. "I finally did it and did it and did it, and finally I got better at it. So hold on, maybe I'll get better at debates, too." Perry has agreed to take part in at least five more GOP contests.
Perry began his remarks on debates by saying, "In a debate that we had -- I hope you missed it," drawing a round of laughter from the audience. Perry stirred controversy last week when he suggested that taking part in any debates might have been a mistake and that he might not participate in future sessions. Later, Perry's campaign said that, after five more debates, Perry will consider debates on a case-by-case basis.
Perry was speaking at a forum sponsored by the University of Phoenix, the online school. He began with a shortened version of his campaign speech, criticizing those "status quo tinkerers" who "think you can fix Washington with a pair of tweezers."
'I happen to think you should take a sledgehammer to it,' Perry said.