Image: Texas Gov. Rick Perry
Jim Young  /  Reuters
Texas Gov. Rick Perry attends a campaign stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday.
NBC News
updated 8/16/2011 9:25:32 AM ET 2011-08-16T13:25:32

Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Monday broadly attacked the Federal Reserve, accusing the central banking system of manipulating currency for political gain.

"Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous or treasonous in my opinion," Perry, who officially entered the GOP presidential race on Saturday, said in his first full day of campaigning.

He went on to say that promoters of such an idea — hinting but not naming Fed chief Ben Bernanke specifically — would get an "ugly" treatment in his home state of Texas.

Perry made the comments in response to a question from the audience at a county Republican Party fundraiser about what he would do with the Federal Reserve.

Story: Perry calls jobs record a big plus

"We have tried to print the money and it didn't work. All it has done is devalue the American dollar," he told reporters after the event.

Perry told members of the media that his comment about the "treasonous" printing of money was directed specifically at the Fed, not at President Barack Obama.

Story: Texas job boom — leadership or luck?

But Perry also declined earlier to say whether he believes the current president loves America.

"You need to ask him," he said.

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Video: Perry pitches presidential bid in Iowa

  1. Transcript of: Perry pitches presidential bid in Iowa

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Now we turn to politics, the campaign trail of 2011 for 2012 , and for the Republicans it's a different ball game after this weekend. They have an altered lineup and a big-name new candidate. Now the president has joined in with a three- state bus tour of his own to lay out his case. We have two reports on this tonight, beginning with Kelly O'Donnell in Des Moines . Kelly , good evening.

    KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: Good evening, Brian . It took just 48 hours to really shake up this race. Saturday's straw poll victory gives Michele Bachmann some new stature. It forced Tim Pawlenty to abandon his campaign. But the biggest difference right now, the Texas governor is off and running.

    Governor RICK PERRY: How's the John Deere man doing?

    O'DONNELL: Bringing his Texas -size personality to the Iowa State Fair for the first time ...

    Gov. PERRY: This way.

    O'DONNELL: ... Rick Perry , the longest-serving governor in Texas history , told Iowa he's ready for the White House .

    Gov. PERRY: I think you want a president that is passionate about America , that's in -- that's in love with America .

    O'DONNELL: Perry aides said their first goal is a stumble-free campaign rollout. Do you feel you're behind at all, just in timing?

    Gov. PERRY: Oh, you know, I got a little time to make up, I know that. I got -- I got in a little bit late.

    O'DONNELL: Introducing himself to voters as the son of a farmer, an Eagle Scout and Air Force pilot, Perry paid respect to Iowa tradition.

    Gov. PERRY: This is what it's all about...

    Unidentified Man: This is what it's about.

    Gov. PERRY: the Iowa State Fair .

    O'DONNELL: And the voters need to be properly courted.

    Unidentified Woman: And let me tell you something else, I've been a Democrat my whole life and I might have to vote for you.

    Gov. PERRY: You might have to vote for me?

    Woman: I might have to. If I vote for...

    Gov. PERRY: Give me a chance.

    O'DONNELL: Perry 's launch soaked up attention typically showered on the straw poll winner, Michele Bachmann . Both spoke last night at a GOP dinner in her hometown, Waterloo .

    Representative MICHELE BACHMANN: My goal is to be bold, new, different, actually go in and take your voice.

    O'DONNELL: Appearing for her speech only, Bachmann 's campaign brought its own production of lights and music into a room seating about 300 people, stagecraft made for a TV audience. In that other crucial early voting state , New Hampshire , today national front-runner Mitt Romney was already taking on Perry , claiming his real-world business experience trumps Perry 's record as governor on jobs.

    Former Governor MITT ROMNEY: I wish Rick the very best, and as the process goes on we'll see whose background and skill most fits the need and the needs of the country at a critical time like this.

    O'DONNELL: And Romney insisted today that even though he has to engage and react to Perry , that that won't change his message, so he says. And tonight Michele Bachmann is headed off to South Carolina for her own bus tour in that

    other important state. Brian: Kelly O'Donnell at the fair in Des Moines tonight. Kelly ,



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