Officials from the George W. Bush administration are unhappy with new presidential candidate Rick Perry’s incendiary attack on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. And they’re going public with their complaints, Politico
The Texas governor, campaigning in Iowa Monday said of Bernanke, “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. Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous -- or treasonous in my opinion.”
Karl Rove, one of Bush’s top White House aides and still an important Republican strategist, told Fox News, “It's his [Perry’s] 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 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.”
Pete Wehner, a deputy assistant to President Bush wrote in Commentary: “People shouldn’t throw around the words ‘almost treasonous’ loosely. And certainly a person running for president shouldn’t do such a thing. To say someone is treasonous means he is a traitor to his country. In the long catalogue of crimes an individual can commit, there are not many that are worse than treason.”
Those comments fall right into the hands of Perry critics who view him as a loose-cannon cowboy, Wehner said. “Why he would play to stereotype is hard to fathom. Or, perhaps he’s simply being himself. We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime Perry ought to offer a retraction and apology, and then offer a serious intellectual critique of why he believes Ben Bernanke is pursuing injurious policies.”
Former White House and Treasury Department spokesman Tony Fratto wrote on Twitter: "Gov. Perry's comments about Chmn. Bernanke are inappropriate and un-presidential.”
Perry also got a wrist-slap from the Obama administration, with White House press secretary Jay Carney saying candidates need to be mindful of fallout from their statements.
"When you’re running for president, you have to think about what you’re saying because your words have greater impact,” Carney told reporters aboard the President Barack Obama's bus touring in Iowa. "We take the independence of the Federal Reserve quite seriously.”
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