Texas Gov. Rick Perry, making his maiden campaign swing in Iowa after jumping into the race for the Republican presidential nomination, suggested Monday night that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke would be committing an act of treason by printing more money between now and November 2012.
Responding to a question about the Federal Reserve at a campaign event in Cedar Rapids, Perry said: “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.”
Perry continued by saying that printing more money would be “devaluing the dollar in your pocket, and we cannot afford that. We have to learn the lessons of the past three years that they’ve been devastating. The president of the United States has conducted an experiment on the American economy for almost three years, and it has gone tragically wrong, and we need to send him a clear message in November 2012 that new leadership is coming.”
Perry’s comments drew a sharp rebuke by some commentators online Monday night. Tony Fratto, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush, tweeted: “Gov. Perry’s comments about Chmn. Bernanke are inappropriate and unpresidential.”
Perry entered the presidential race Saturday, sending an immediate jolt through the contest. A large pack of journalists has been trailing his visit to Iowa, which began Sunday night in Waterloo and continued earlier Monday at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. With Republicans sizing up the race’s newest entrant, Perry is beginning to face an onslaught of scrutiny over his record and past statements.
Bernanke was first appointed by President Bush, a Republican, although his policies at the Fed have drawn sharp criticism among libertarians and those within some corners of the GOP. Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a presidential candidate who finished a close second in Saturday’s Iowa straw poll, has used his opposition to Fed policy to help build a national following.
In efforts to help revive the nation’s beleaguered economy, the central bank has tried quantitative easing, a monetary policy by which the government injects more money into the economy.