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Perry Admits Debate Skills Lacking, Says One-on-One is Better to Reach Voters

He acknowledges not being the best debater, but Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry said Sunday despite less than stellar performances, he will commit to five more, even though he thinks that's not the best way to reach the American people. 

"I really like getting out and being able to talk to people, just like I'm talking with you today where you have time to lay out your ideas," Perry said on "Fox News Sunday," adding that he's learned to treat the race as a marathon, not a sprint.

And regardless of his recent debate performance, Perry said given the chance he could take on President Obama in a one-on-one over what he calls the president's "Frankenstein experiment" with the American economy. 

"We got a great debater, a smooth politician in the White House right now, that's not working really good for America. If you want to know how someone is going to perform in the future, take a look at their past," he said.

Retail politics, however, is a huge investment in both time and money, and the finish line is drawing quickly near. The candidate has until Jan. 3 to improve his numbers before the vital first-in-the-nation caucuses in Iowa, and the latest Des Moines Register poll shows Perry in fifth place, tied with Newt Gingrich, at 7 percent, while Mitt Romney is at a consistent 22 percent. 

Herman Cain, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO, has rocketed up to 23 percent. Rep. Ron Paul ranked third at 12 percent and Rep. Michele Bachmann followed at 8 percent in the poll of 400 likely Republican primary voters released late Saturday.

Perry is counting on his proposal to fix the economy as a selling point. The plan calls for a 20 percent flat tax, but also the status quo tax filing option to give people a choice on how to pay their taxes. The plan also includes a Balanced Budget Amendment and a reduction in government spending to 18 percent of gross domestic product, as well as a cut in regulations and consolidation of several federal government agencies.  

Perry said according to his plan, the highest income earners will likely get the biggest break -- because they'll opt for the flat tax -- but they can take that money and pump it back into the economy to create jobs and invest.

"This plan is about getting people back to work, putting the confidence back in the American entrepreneur (who) knows the regulations are not going to be there," he said.

"I don't want more revenue in Washington, D.C.'s hands. I want more revenue in the private sector, job creators' hands, and American citizens out there. I guarantee you, they'll make better decisions about how to spend that money than Washington, D.C.," Perry said.

Though Perry's been down in a hole as far as poll numbers, he has gotten vital support from fiscal conservatives, including Dick Armey, the former Republican House majority leader who now is chairman of Freedom Works, a Tea party-supporting group dedicated to lower taxes and less government.

"Governor Perry has seen the first best public policy option to move employment forward, growth, economic growth forward in America, is the flat tax,' Armey told ABC's "This Week." "He's also probably aware that for the first time, America's beating Washington, office holders are more responsive to people at large rather than special interests, so we have a chance to actually enact this kind of growth policy for America."

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