Former Treasury official for first President Bush calls Perry 'an idiot'

A former Treasury official in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations blasted GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry on Friday for his remarks about the Federal Reserve. 

"Rick Perry's an idiot, and I don't think anyone would disagree with that," Bruce Bartlett said on CNN's "American Morning."

Bartlett's comments were made in reference to the Texas governor's recent admonishment of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

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"If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don't know what y'all would do to him in Iowa — but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas," Perry said Monday. "I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous — or treasonous, in my opinion."

The comments immediately drew fire from across the political spectrum, with many Republicans — especially former officials of the George W. Bush administration — arguing that they were inappropriate.

"You don't accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country and being guilty of treason and suggesting that we treat him 'pretty ugly' in Texas — that's not, again, a presidential statement," Karl Rove, one of President George W. Bush's closest advisers, said on Fox.

"It's not smart politics, either. Governor Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he's a cowboy from Texas. This simply added to it," Rove said.

Bartlett was one of the architects of Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut, and briefly worked for Perry competitor Ron Paul in the 1970s. He has, however, been highly critical of Republicans in the past — his 2006 book is titled Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy, and he penned a 2009 op-ed for The Daily Beast that blamed the Bush administration for the economic crisis.

Perry has largely stood by his critique of the Fed and refused to apologize.

"I am just passionate about the issue and we stand by what we said," Perry said Tuesday.