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Perry Makes Quick and Controversial Impact in Presidential Race


Texas Governor Rick Perry in New Hampshire, Aug 17, 2011

Texas Governor Rick Perry in New Hampshire, Aug 17, 2011

In U.S. politics, Texas Governor Rick Perry has been in the Republican presidential race for less than a week, but has already had a huge impact on the campaign. Perry is also standing by some controversial comments he made about the head of the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve.

Perry took his presidential campaign to the early primary state of New Hampshire, where he again criticized President Barack Obama’s economic record.

“Mr. President, actions speak louder than words and my actions as governor are helping create jobs in this country," said Perry. "The president’s actions are killing jobs in this country.”

During his New Hampshire remarks, Perry also cast doubt on global warming and said he does not support the compromise agreement to raise the national debt ceiling agreed to last month by the president and congressional Republicans.

Perry was also asked about controversial comments he made, the previous day in Iowa, critical of Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, the head of the U.S. central bank.

“We would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas," he said. "I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, treasonous.”

The central bank has pumped hundreds of billions of dollars into the U.S. economy in recent years in an effort to boost recovery and spur job growth.

Perry did not repeat or back away from his comments in New Hampshire, and he kiddingly told the crowd the remarks had gotten him into trouble.

Perry’s comments drew fire not only from Democrats, but from some prominent Republicans - including Karl Rove. The former top political adviser to President George W. Bush told Fox News the comments made Perry seem un-presidential.

Perry’s entrance into the presidential race has excited conservatives and somewhat overshadowed the other top two Republicans in public-opinion polls, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Perry has long been known for making controversial statements in his long tenure as Texas governor. But his blunt-spoken style is a plus with Tea Party activists looking to reduce the size of the central government.

“And I will promise you this: I will work every day to try to make Washington, D.C. as inconsequential in your life as I can," said Perry.

President Obama told CNN that presidential candidates have to be a little more careful about what they say in a national campaign, but declined to directly criticize Perry over his Federal Reserve remarks, saying he has only been in the race a few days.

Democrats are eager to tie Perry to the Tea Party movement, which has seen its popularity slip in the polls in recent weeks.

Former Obama presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs spoke on NBC’s Today program.

“The Republicans are going to have to make a choice, are they going to swear allegiance to the Tea Party or are they going to work on behalf of the United States of America," said Gibbs. "I think that is a central question when Congress gets back.”

Some analysts believe Perry’s outspoken nature will help him in the race for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination because many party voters want a conservative candidate who can defeat President Obama next year.

ABC analyst Matthew Dowd says outspoken candidates like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann are exciting Republican voters.

“This is a Republican electorate that is very hot and they do not want cool candidates," said Dowd. "This is an electorate that really wants passion.”

The Republican contenders will take part in candidate debates, and campaign in early contest states during the next few months before the nominating process begins in Iowa and New Hampshire early next year.

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    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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