Rick Perry Admits Mistakes On Immigration, GOP Debates

Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry admitted that he made mistakes in debates, in an interview on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor."

Bill O'Reilly said that he thought Perry made a mistake when he said that he thought that opponents of allowing in-state tuition did not "have a heart" in a Sept. 22 debate. "I agree with you that I used the wrong word there," said Perry.

"This is an economic issue. Here's the bigger -- bigger problem is the federal government has been a total and abject failure [at] securing our border. I know. I've had to be dealing with it here for the last 10 years," he added. Perry said in a Newsmax interview following the debate that he "probably chose a poor word" when calling his opponents heartless.

He added to O'Reilly that there were only four dissenting votes in the Texas legislature for the 2001 bill allowing undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition. He did not disavow the bill itself.

Perry also said that he made mistakes during the campaign. "Well, I don't think anybody has ever run the perfect campaign. And, actually, these debates are set up for nothing more than to tear down the candidates. It pretty hard to be able to sit and lay out your ideas and your concepts with a one-minute response." He added, "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."

Perry, who became the frontrunner shortly after his entrance in mid-August for the Republican nomination but has since dropped in the polls, addressed his fall.

"Well, I think anytime you have these races, they're going to go up, they're going to go down. You're going to have all kinds of movement on the races. So this thing is a long way from being over with. And we're just now laying out our economic plans," referring to his flat tax proposal.