"Obviously I’m not the best debater on the stage, that’s pretty obvious," said the Texas governor. "I’m not the smoothest politician. Here is what Americans know about me, is I know what I believe in."
On the heels of the forum, which was held in Orlando, Florida, Perry finished in second place in the Sunshine State's presidential straw poll behind former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain. Many expected the Lone Star Republican to come out on top in the event and Perry spokesman Mark Miner acknowledged afterwards that the governor's debate performance was a factor in the outcome of the contest.
"He's the commander in chief, not the debater in chief," Miner said.
HuffPost's Amanda Terkel reported on reaction to Perry's debate performance during a roundtable discussion on "Fox News Sunday."
"Perry really did throw up all over himself in the debate, at a time when he needed to raise his game. He did worse, it seems to me, than in previous debates. ... Perry is one-half a step away from almost total collapse as a candidate," said Fox News commentator Brit Hume.
Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol wrote an editorial titled "Yikes" on Friday, writing of Thursday's debate, "[N]one of the candidates really seemed up to the moment, either politically or substantively. In the midst of a crisis, we’re getting politics as usual -- and a somewhat subpar version of politics as usual at that."
The alternative, he wrote, is for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) to jump into the race.
Despite vehemently denying he could run for president in the next election cycle, speculation that the New Jersey Republican could jump into the GOP primary race reached a fever pitch this week.
"I think he is a very, very good Governor," said Perry on Friday. "We worked awfully hard to get him elected in ’09. I am really proud of all these Republican governors across the country who are making their states more competitive."