Rick Perry furthered his anti-Washington message in two radio interviews on Monday, saying that he would call on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geither to resign, or he would fire them.
Perry’s comments, made to host Simon Conway on WHO in Des Moines, Iowa, came in response to a Bloomberg story that revealed the Fed made $7.77 trillion in loans to troubled banks during the height of the credit crisis in late 2008 and early 2009. Until the report, the loans had been kept a secret.
“I’m not a lawyer to begin with, I’m sure not a criminal lawyer, but as an American citizen, I consider that criminal,” the Republican presidential candidate said. Perry got into trouble early in his campaign for saying that Bernanke would get treated “pretty ugly” if he came to Texas.
The governor has spoken out against the bank bailouts, and has also pledged to repeal the Dodd-Frank legislation that sought to reform the behavior of financial institutions. “I just wish he would take the Dodd-Frank banking regulation with him when he leaves,” Perry joked of Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank’s announcement on Monday that he would not seek reelection.
Perry was interviewed in Manchester, N.H., where he is preparing to announce the endorsement of controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio will appear with Perry at one campaign event and two town halls in various New Hampshire cities on Tuesday. The endorsement is expected to help shore up Perry’s record as being tough on immigration, after he was forced to defend a 2001 law he signed in Texas giving in-state tuition to the children of illegal immigrants.
As for suggestions by Michael Graham of Boston's WTKK that Perry isn’t working hard enough for the nomination – he is only scheduled to campaign publicly for two days this week despite being only a month away from the Iowa caucuses – Perry had this to say: “I’ve kissed my fair share of babies and nobody’s going to outwork me.… I’m in Manchester, New Hampshire, right now and I’m looking for some babies to kiss.”