Rick Perry attacks Ben Bernanke's 'treasonous' Federal Reserve strategy
Texas governor's attempt to assert hawkish credentials draws criticism from moderate Republicans and White House
(guardian.co.uk) -- by Chris McGreal in Washington --
The Texas governor, Rick Perry, has staked out his challenge for the Republican presidential nomination as a hawk on economic policy by characterising the strategy of the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben Bernanke, as "treasonous".
Perry swiftly emerged as a leading contender for the Republican nomination after announcing his intention to run for president on Saturday, in part because he is governor of a state that has ridden the economic downturn better than most and has seen more jobs created than any other.
He has won favour with the Tea Party movement and among other fiscal conservatives with his strong opposition to Barack Obama's stimulus strategy. Addressing a political rally in Iowa on Monday, the Texas governor attacked suggestions by Bernanke that with the economy again struggling the Federal Reserve may resort to another round of buying trillions of dollars of bonds, known as quantitative easing.
Perry said that would amount to little more than an attempt to buy support at next year's election, at a huge cost to the country.
"If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I dunno what y'all would do to him in Iowa but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous – or treasonous in my opinion," said Perry.
He went on to accuse Obama of an economic strategy that endangered America. "I think the greatest threat to our country right now is this president trying to spend his way out of this debt," he said.
The White House denounced the remarks, saying presidential candidates should not try to interfere with Federal Reserve policy.
"When you are president or running for president, you have to think about your words," spokesman Jay Carney said during an Iowa stop of Obama's three-day jobs bus tour. "The Fed's independence is important."
Perry's remarks were also condemned by some Republicans, who noted that Bernanke was appointed by Obama's predecessor, George Bush.
Karl Rove, the Republican strategist who put Bush in the White House, called Perry's statement unpresidential.
"You don't accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country. Of being guilty of treason. And, suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas. You know, that is not, again a presidential statement," said Rove. "If Rick Perry were to be elected president he'd be saddled with Ben Bernanke who has a term. He's an independent chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, appointed by president and confirmed by Congress and serves for a term and the president couldn't even ask him to resign."
But attacks on the president's stimulus strategy play well with many on the right as the Texas governor seeks to mark out distinctions with the other leading Republican candidates: the more mainstream Mitt Romney and the Tea Party supporter Michele Bachmann...MORE...LINK
Federal Reserve Chairman "Helicopter" Ben Shalom Bernanke (background), heir to Alan "Fast Money" Greenspan
Could Ben Shalom Bernanke possibly be guilty of treason?