SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (Reuters) - Michele Bachmann took aim at the Federal Reserve Tuesday, after rival candidate Rick Perry caused a storm with fierce criticism of Fed chairman Ben Bernanke.
“I’ve been fighting on that issue since I came into Congress,” Bachmann told reporters after a stump speech to about 300 people at a drive-in restaurant in South Carolina.
“The Federal Reserve is not subject to transparency. The Federal Reserve has made terrible, grievous errors,” she said, criticizing the central bank’s quantitative easing programs of buying government bonds to lower interest rates and boost the economy.
“I wrote letters to Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner and to Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke and called on them not to release that money,” Bachmann said. “The president has reduced the soundness of the dollar and the dollar has lost 12 percent of its value, according to experts, since President Obama came into his position.”
The White House denounced Perry Tuesday for using inflammatory rhetoric to criticize Bernanke.
Perry said Monday he would consider it “treasonous” if Bernanke were to undertake another monetary stimulus program before next year’s election, a sign of the political heat the Fed faces as it tries to strengthen the economy.
The White House said it was important for the Fed to remain independent and jabbed back at the famously outspoken Texas governor.
Bachmann, the leader of the Tea Party caucus in the House of Representatives, won the Iowa straw poll Saturday in the first big test of the 2012 Republican nominating race.
Her campaign in South Carolina is not against Perry, she said, but against Obama.
“Rick Perry will run his campaign the way he wants to and I’ll run my campaign the way that I will, and I think those distinctions are evident,” Bachmann said.
Editing by Philip Barbara