It’s no secret that uncomfortable feelings exist between former President George W. Bush and Republican presidential candidate Texas Gov. Rick Perry, particularly after Bush lined up behind Perry opponent Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson to contest his 2010 re-election bid.
Since Perry jumped into the presidential race on Saturday, he has made some controversial remarks about that particular relationship. His remarks about Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have also drawn sharp criticism. One outspoken critic happens to be former Bush deputy chief of staff Karl Rove.
On Tuesday’s “America’s Newsroom” on the Fox News Channel, Rove offered some words of advice for Perry: Avoid “over-the-top statements.”
“Look, it is his first time on the national stage and it was a very unfortunate comment,” Rove said. “You don’t accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country, of being guilty of treason, and suggesting that we treat him pretty ugly in Texas.”
“You know, that is not, again a presidential statement … I hope this is not the first of [many] over-the-top statements,” he said. “We ought not in politics, you know, look, with President Obama, [he] already comes close to accusing people of being anti-American, and accused me of being a ’60s-style radical.”
Rove said Perry’s comments only made him look weaker.
“[S]o we ought to step back from this, and I think the governor — it’s not smart politics either, and the governor will have to fight the impression he’s a cowboy from Texas and this simply added to it [by] accusing somebody of being guilty of being a traitor to his country. Look, when Al Gore did that to George Bush in 2004, I thought it diminished Gore and didn’t, you know, hurt Bush.”
Host Martha MacCallum later asked Rove if Perry had come off as ungrateful by remarking on how he and Bush are different.
“Well you know, it sounds like that,” Rove said. “He likes Rick Perry and why, again, I chalk it up to — he’s on the stage for the first time. He’s trying to find his way.”
According to Rove, Perry has to learn that Texas politics is nothing like the national stage and that his remarks about the former president are not helpful.
“Perry’s been governor 10 years [in] a big state, 5 percent of the country in Texas, 22 media markets. You start driving in Beaumont and 12 hours later you have not gotten to El Paso. But you walk onto the national stage and no matter how big politics is in Texas, it’s much bigger and more different on a national stage.”