BOSTON Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Monday said the Federal Reserve should not go ahead with another round of monetary stimulus to boost the U.S. economy, because it would risk kicking up inflation.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke will speak at the central bank's annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming, conference on Friday. Financial markets are on alert for word of any fresh measures by the Fed that could boost economic growth, although a hefty stimulus is unlikely.
"Another round of quantitative easing is not the solution for the economy, and could mean inflation down the road," Romney told Fox News. "It's not the right thing to do."
Romney's comments about the Fed were far from the fiery tone taken last week by Texas Governor Rick Perry, who said he would consider it "treasonous" if Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke "prints more money between now and the election" in November 2012. Other Republican candidates, including Ron Paul and Michele Bachmann, have also criticized the central bank.
Romney said he wanted to keep up the pressure on President Barack Obama, not on Bernanke or on his rivals in the 2012 Republican primary race.
"I want to focus my time and attention on the failure of the president," said Romney. "Obama and I could not be more different."
One similarity between the two, though, is that both will issue new "jobs plans" in early September.
Obama is expected to lay out measures to help get millions of unemployed Americans back to work. Romney told Fox News he would issue his competing plan on September 6, in Nevada.
A Gallup poll issued on Monday, and taken August 17-18, showed Romney just ahead of Obama in a survey of national voters, 48 percent to 46 percent. The random sample of 1,026 adults had a sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.
(Reporting by Ros Krasny, Editing by Sandra Maler)