Perry soars in poll, hammers at jobs message

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by BRAD WATSON

WFAA

Posted on August 16, 2011 at 6:50 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 16 at 7:18 PM

A new poll shows Gov. Rick Perry has shot to the head of the pack of Republicans who want to be president.

Perry took 29 percent of the vote in a Rasmussen Reports telephone poll of 1,000 likely GOP primary voters.

The Texan had a double-digit lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 18 percent and Iowa Straw Poll winner Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann with 13 percent.

Perry continued his campaign trip through Iowa on Tuesday. He stopped in Cedar Rapids; hit a business roundtable in Dubuque; and hosted a meet-and-greet in the town of Walcott.

The governor's comments are really turning some heads.

Perry's campaign is focused on jobs... the number of jobs created in Texas on his watch and the claim that he could replicate that achievement as president.

But on Tuesday, Perry was thrown off-message as aides tried to explain his comment Monday night referring to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Perry didn't mention Bernanke by name, but stated his distaste for the Fed's policy of buying up more treasury bonds to stimulate the economy.

"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," 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."

That remark rankled former aides to President George W. Bush, who first appointed Bernanke as Fed chairman.

And the White House admonished Perry to "to think about what you're saying because your words have greater impact" as a presidential candidate.

Perry's spokesman said he stood by the comment, adding that Perry was "expressing his frustration with the current economic situation and the out-of-control spending that persists in Washington."

Perry's campaign is off to a good start, but the scrutiny of running for president is so much more intense than running for governor.

Look for Perry to stick to his jobs message.

E-mail bwatson@wfaa.com

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