Whether Rick Perry ends up showing up at the debates or not, this sends precisely the wrong signal.  This is not May or June.  If you want the nomination, you show up to debates in November and December, without hesitation:

After a series of poor debate performances in the early months of his presidential campaign, Texas Gov. Rick Perry is backing off the upcoming GOP debate schedule, committing to just one of the next three events between now and Nov. 15….

Perry campaign manager Ray Sullivan said Wednesday night that the debates keep
candidates from interacting more effectively with voters.

“When you’ve got eight or nine candidates and 30 seconds to a minute, it takes valuable time away from campaigning in Iowa as those elections approach,” Sullivan said in an interview with CNN. “…There are, I think, 18 more in the planning phases. There’s no way that the candidates can do all those debates.”

Whoever decided to float this idea has botched it.

There are only a handful of currently scheduled debates, holding out the bogeyman of 18 more doesn’t help Perry at a critical moment when he is trying to recover.