Newly minted presidential candidate Rick Perry has come out swinging in the first few days of his campaign in an effort to grab the nomination from his Republican colleagues.
The Texas governor, whose late entry into the race means he has missed two televised debates, is wasting no time playing catch-up.
In his most provocative comment, made on the campaign trail in Iowa, he said that Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke would be close to committing treason if he printed more money to stimulate the economy.
"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 said.
"I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history, is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion."
But it wasn’t just Bernanke who was the target of Perry’s attacks. He called President Barack Obama “the greatest threat to our country” and slammed GOP front-runner Mitt Romney by asking voters to compare the former governor’s record in the Massachusetts State House in Boston with his time in Austin.
Perry, who spent five years in the Air Force, rising to the rank of captain, also took a swipe at Obama – and many of his Republican rivals – by saying veterans and the military wanted one of their own in charge. Of the other major candidates only Ron Paul spent time in uniform.
“People who have had the same experiences connect with individuals of like experience,” he said on Sunday, following it up a day later with a more direct attack on Obama. “The president had the opportunity to serve his country I’m sure, at some time, and he made the decision that that wasn’t what he wanted to do.”
Perry officially announced his candidacy on Saturday after weeks of speculation. His announcement, made in South Carolina, partly overshadowed the Iowa straw poll, which Michele Bachmann won.
He received 4.3 percent of the votes as a write-in candidate.
He immediately went on the offensive. During his speech in Charleston he laid the blame for the country’s economic woes firmly at Obama’s feet. "The fact is for nearly three years, President Obama has been downgrading American jobs, downgrading our standing in the world, downgrading our financial stability, downgrading confidence and downgrading the hope of a better future for our children," he said.
"One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job. That is not a recovery – that is an economic disaster."
Then it was off to Iowa where he didn’t hold back.
On Monday at a meet and greet in eastern Iowa, he said he would be a president who is “passionate about America.” When asked if he was suggesting that Obama is not, he shot back, “You need to ask him.”
Then he said Obama was the “greatest threat” to the country adding, “What’s going on in Washington is stunning – stunningly bad.”
He again showed his bare-knuckle approach to campaigning with his comments about Bernanke. In the same speech, he told Iowans that when they see Obama on his bus tour of the Midwest, they should ask him, “Where are the jobs that you promised, Mr. President? He’s going to talk about jobs, but the only job he cares about is the one he’s got.”
He also turned his focus on Romney, who had questioned Perry’s lack of business experience while touting his own record of job-creation while working in the private sector.
Perry said that comparing that part of their respective records was like comparing “apples to oranges.”
“Running a state is different from running a business,” he said. “What I would say is go take a look at his record when he was governor and my record when I'm governor. Then you got some apples to apples."
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