Rick Perry Skips Trump Debate Says his No. 1 priority is basic campaigning By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Dec 8, 2011 1:16 PM CST 33 comments Comments Rick Perry speaks during the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum December 7, 2011 at Ronald Reagan Building and International Center in Washington. (Getty Images) (Newser) – Donald Trump's debate is shaping up to be an awfully lonely affair. Rick Perry became the latest candidate to bow out today, joining Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, and Jon Huntsman in skipping the Dec. 27 event. Perry's campaign was polite to Trump in its refusal, saying that the governor "respects him and the folks at NewsMax very much," but that ahead of the Iowa caucuses, old-fashioned "retail" politics is his "top priority." It also noted that two other debates take place over the next week.