Perry on Bernanke: Almost 'treasonous'

Aug. 16, 2011 at 4:50 PM
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry's verbal assault on the Federal Reserve and Chairman Ben Bernanke is evoking sharp rebukes from former Bush administration officials.

Perry said the Fed is almost "treasonous" and Bernanke would get an "ugly" reception in Texas.

Politico reported former Bush adviser Karl Rove, a known Perry skeptic, said on Fox News, "It's his first time on the national stage, and it was a very unfortunate comment. You don't accuse the chairman of the federal reserve of being a traitor to his country and being guilty of treason and suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas. That's not, again, a presidential statement. Governor Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he's a cowboy from Texas. This simply added to it."

Former Bush White House aide Pete Wehner wrote in Commentary, Politico reported: "People shouldn't throw around the words 'almost treasonous' loosely; and certainly a person running for president shouldn't do such a thing." Perry's statement "is the kind of blustering, unthinking comment that Perry's critics expect of him."

Former White House and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Fratto tweeted: "Gov. Perry's comments about ... Bernanke are inappropriate and unpresidential."

Perry's comments came Monday night at a political event in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on only his second day of campaigning.

"Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous or treasonous in my opinion," USA Today quoted Perry as saying about the Fed. Asked about Bernanke, Perry said, "I know there's a lot of talk, and what have you, about if this guy prints more money between now and the election. I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas."

Perry spokesman Ray Sullivan declined to reject the harsh remarks about Bernanke, although he did not repeat the charge of treason, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. "The governor was passionate and energized by a full day of campaigning," he said. "It was his way to talk about his views on the budget and the country's fiscal problems."

Asked about the harshness of the language, Sullivan said, "You'll just have to listen to what the governor says every day. The message is going to evolve to be responsive to the news of the day."

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday of Perry's remarks, "When you're running for president you have to think about what you're saying because your words have greater impact. We take the independence of the Federal Reserve quite seriously."

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