Perry will appear in Wednesday's GOP presidential debate

Texas Gov. Rick Perry will participate after all in Wednesday's presidential debate — the candidate's first.

"He plans to be there," said Perry spokesman Mark Miner.

Perry has been slotted to join the debate, held at the Reagan Presidential Library, but a series of severe Texas wildfires had forced him to skip campaign stops in New Hampshire and South Carolina over the weekend.

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When asked Tuesday morning by CBS whether he would still debate, Perry said, "I don't know."

"That's a fluid situation at the moment, so again I go back to we're going to be taking care of the folks here," Perry said.

The debate will be an important early test of Perry's campaign: he has jumped to the head of many national primary polls, and how well the governor handles himself in the debate could determine whether he can solidify his newfound status as the man to beat.

Perry's quick rise in the polls has drawn the attention of other candidates. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has taken a few shots at Perry in recent days, although he has not criticized the governor by name, while Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and allies of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) have aired ads attacking his record.

Perry has fired back against the attacks, and Miner indicated the campaign will stay on the offensive against misleading charges.

"When somebody puts something out that’s factually incorrect, we’re going to set the record straight," he said.