Texas Governor Rick Perry has only been a presidential candidate since Saturday, but the Republican hopeful has already produced some of the most inflammatory rhetoric of the early 2012 campaign.
Perry seemed to threaten Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday, saying another fiscal stimulus would be "treasonous," a sign of the political heat the central bank faces as it tries to right the stumbling economy.
"If this guy prints more money between now and the election, I don't know what y'all will do to him in Iowa, but we would treat him pretty ugly down in Texas," Perry said, to laughter from supporters in Iowa, which will hold the first elections of the presidential campaign in February.
"Printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, treasonous in my opinion," he said at the campaign stop.
Under Bernanke -- who was appointed in 2006 by President George W. Bush, a Republican, and reappointed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat -- the Fed has mounted one of the most aggressive central bank easy money campaigns in history.
It cut interest rates to near zero in December 2008 and has since bought $2.3 trillion in assets to provide an additional prod to economic activity.
Perry, who succeeded Bush as Texas governor, is known for strongly conservative social and fiscal political views. He formally became a candidate for the Republican nomination to oppose Obama's re-election bid on Saturday.
Perry is no stranger to verbal barbs, having famously suggested Texas might have to secede from the United States.
He wasted no time in lobbing rhetorical bombs at Obama, with remarks questioning his patriotism and implying that the U.S. military did not respect him as commander-in-chief.
At an Iowa Republican dinner on Sunday, Perry said he was running for president partly to "make sure that every young man and woman who puts on the uniform of this nation respects highly the President of the United States," a comment taken as a dig at Obama.
He later said he would not retreat "an inch" from the remarks, according to ABC News. Perry served in the Air Force; Obama did not serve in the military.
When asked whether he thought Obama loved the country, Perry replied, "You need to ask him."
Obama recently said he was frustrated with politicians who put party ahead of country, a reference to bitterly partisan negotiations this summer with congressional Republicans over raising the nation's debt ceiling.
Perry's campaign said the Texas governor was expressing his frustration with the U.S. economic situation and "the out of control spending" in Washington.
"Most Americans would agree that printing and spending more money is not the answer to the economic issues facing the country," Perry campaign spokesman Mark Miner said.
The White House responded with its own jab at Perry. "I certainly think threatening the Fed chairman is not a good idea," administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling with Obama in Iowa on Tuesday.
"When you are president or running for president, you have to think about your words," Carney said.
Democrats have seized on Perry's remarks to make their case that he is a loose-talking cowboy likely to act too hastily under pressure if he were to win the White House.
Critics also say the comments contradict the Texan's promise that he would focus his campaign on jobs, the issue expected to most bedevil Obama as he fights for re-election, with the economy growing sluggishly and unemployment stuck above 9 percent.
Perry's comments also raised some Republican eyebrows.
Tony Fratto, who headed public affairs at the Treasury Department and served as a White House spokesman under Bush, slammed Perry's comment on Twitter on Monday.
"Gov. Perry's comments about Chmn Bernanke are inappropriate and unpresidential," he wrote.