Perry heads to New Hampshire day after 'treasonous' remark

Perry heads to New Hampshire day after 'treasonous' remark

Credit: Charles Dharapak / AP

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry makes a campaign stop at the Iowa 80 Group in Walcott, Iowa, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2011.

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by CYNTHIA VEGA & PAUL J. WEBER

WFAA & The Associated Press

Posted on August 17, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 17 at 7:41 PM

DALLAS - Gov. Rick Perry headed to New Hampshire Wednesday morning to campaign at the make-or-break state in the race to the White House.

Perry was scheduled to make two appearances in the state, including a breakfast. But, just four days after launching his GOP presidential run, the man from Paint Creek has already caught some flak for his colorful tongue.

Recent comments made by Perry on the federal reserve and the possibility it may print more money before the November election have been considered by some to be inflammatory. The Texas governor called the possible move by Federal Reserve and Chairman Ben Bernanke "almost treasonous" while on the campaign trail in Iowa Tuesday.

"If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don't know what y'all will do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas," Perry said.

Reactions to the comments arose from both the left and right.

"Inappropriate and unpresidential," tweeted Tony Fratto, a Republican who worked at the Treasury Department and in the White House under President George W. Bush.

President Barack Obama said Tuesday he was inclined to cut the governor "some slack" since it was so early in his run. The president was asked on CNN about Perry's suggestion that military members would respect the Texan more than him because Perry served in the military and he didn't.

"I think that everybody who runs for president, it probably takes them a little bit of time before they start realizing that this isn't like running for governor or running for Senate or running for Congress," Obama said. "You've got to be a little more careful about what you say."

Perry stood by the treasonous comment, later telling reporters on Tuesday in Dubuque, Iowa: "I am just passionate about the issue, and we stand by what we said."

Donald Trump has continued his support of Perry. In an exclusive interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump said "I think he's a very impressive guy with a very good record."

As for Trump's thoughts on Perry's treasonous remark Tuesday, he said, “I think he feels very strongly about it, but it's just an expression.”

On Monday, Perry also said he would be a president who was "passionate about America — that's in love with America." Asked whether he was suggesting that Obama didn't love his country, Perry said, "You need to ask him."

Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs hit back Tuesday.

"The statements that Perry makes are remarkable in that just two years ago, the governor of Texas openly talked about leading Texas out of the United States of America, and now this campaign has caused him to profess his love to the United States," Gibbs said during an appearance on MSNBC.

Gibbs added, "Any day now Rick Perry will probably ask to see the president's birth certificate," planting the notion that Perry would stoke falsehoods that Obama was not born in the U.S.

Former President Bill Clinton put it another way this week, dismissing Perry as a "good looking rascal" whose policies are "crazy."

Perry never advocated Texas actually would break away from the United States at a tea party rally in 2009, but he did suggest that Texans might get so fed up they'd want to secede at some point.

In the decade that Perry has served as the longest-running governor in Texas history, he's had more than a few memorable remarks.

Following the BP oil spill last year, he used the term "act of God" to describe the disaster, then later defended the comment as a legal term to emphasize his point that nobody knew what happened. Ending a television interview in 2005 — he says he didn't realize the station was still broadcasting — Perry famously shot a wry smile toward the camera and signed off with what became a Texas catchphrase: "Adios, mofo."

His joke in June about an official whose name sounds like Jose Cuervo, a brand of tequila, being a perfect fit for the state's alcohol and beverage commission fell flat to a ballroom of Hispanic lawmakers. When an American tourist was allegedly gunned down in Mexican waters last summer, Perry drew criticism for asking Mexican President Felipe Calderon to call him within 48 hours to say the body had been found, "or they're not looking hard enough."

Even Perry has acknowledged that some of his beliefs might be a bit out of the mainstream for a presidential run. As the polls closed on Election Day 2010, when Perry would be elected to a third full term, he told The Associated Press that the ideas laid out in his new book were proof that he couldn't seek the White House. He called for scrapping Social Security in his book "Fed Up!" and compared the program to a Ponzi scheme. He's suggested states would do a better job than the federal government managing Medicare.

"Because when you read this book, you're going to see me talking about issues that for someone running for public office, it's kind of been the third rail if you will," Perry said last summer.

But political observers say that even when it looks as if Perry is veering off script, he knows how far to take it.

"I think there is a fire burning with the base of the GOP, and Rick Perry knows how to fan the flames," said Mark McKinnon, a political consultant who advised George W. Bush's campaigns. "The key will be to see whether he can keep the fire from burning out of control in the general election."

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