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Recognizing that debates aren’t his strong suit, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is going to limit his participation in these forums as the 2012 presidential campaign moves forward.

“There have been eight GOP primary debates to date with 16 more scheduled over the next 12 weeks,” Ray Sullivan, Perry’s communications director, wrote in an e-mail to Bloomberg News. “We need to determine on a case-by-case basis whether and how these fit into our schedule given the pressing need to meet actual voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida and other early voting states.”


Perry has been an awful debater, and is looking to minimize additional damage to his campaign by opting out of as many of these forums as he possibly can. Its a reprise of a strategy he’s employed in the past in Texas.

After storming to the front of the GOP field in September, Perry has seen his standing among Republican primary voters plummet after several uninspiring debate performances. In an effort to revive his flailing candidacy, Perry rolled out a comprehensive tax overhaul earlier this week – although a big part of his “big gamble” involves selling that plan (and defending it in debates).

While Perry has stumbled, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has solidified his hold over the “moderate Republican” voting bloc while former Godfathers’ CEO Herman Cain has rallied the Tea Party behind his insurgent campaign – vaulting him into the role of surprise front-runner.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul is holding steady in the middle of the pack, along with former U.S. Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep Michele Bachmann‘s campaign has fallen off the map … and is well on its way to joining the ranks of the “1 percenters,” including former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum.

Still … it’s a fluid race … one in which a good (or bad) debate performance could conceivably make a big difference. Obviously, we’ve laid out our belief that there are too many debates – but that doesn’t necessarily mean ditching them is a smart move.

Of course in defense of Perry’s decision, he’s a really, really, really bad debater.

What do you think of Perry’s decision to scale back his debate participation? Vote in our poll and post your thoughts in our comments section below …

UPDATE: We know what one operative thinks of Perry’s decision … Hogan Gidley, an aide to Santorum who is no stranger to Palmetto politics told The New York Times “I thought Texas governors were supposed to be tough.”

Pic: via Daylife