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The Brief: Aug. 17, 2011

Is Rick Perry's "treason" comment a lesson learned for the governor, or a sign of things to come?

Governor Rick Perry lunches with Dubuque area business leaders on August 16, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

Is Rick Perry's "treason" comment a lesson learned for the governor, or a sign of things to come?

Perry — who on Monday in Iowa said that it'd be “almost treasonous” for U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to print more money — again dominated coverage of the Republican presidential field on Tuesday.

After a former White House official under George W. Bush on Monday called Perry's remark "inappropriate and unpresidential," Karl Rove, Bush's top political strategist, in an appearance Tuesday on Fox News said: "You don't accuse the chairman of the Federal Reserve of being a traitor to his country. … Gov. Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he's a cowboy from Texas. This simply added to it."

Rove's reaction — as well as his remark that Perry's distancing himself from Bush is "not smart politics" — fueled speculation that an old rift between the Perry and Bush camps hasn't healed, and that establishment-aligned Republicans are fretting that Perry's blunt style and unapologetic conservatism could cost him the general election. Earlier this week, Rove, without naming Perry, cautioned the GOP against nominating an "extreme" candidate.

In another appearance on Fox News last night, though, Rove added that he thought Perry has learned his lesson. "He's done it once," Rove said. "Let's see if he does it again. I doubt that he will."

Today, after three days of retail politicking in Iowa, Perry heads to New Hampshire, a state whose Republicans may not take as kindly to the Perry swagger, as National Journal notes. But with the help of Dave Carney, the governor's top political consultant and a New Hampshire native, some see an opportunity for Perry to break through.

Culled:

  • Gov. Rick Perry may rail against President Obama's 2009 stimulus program, but as the Tribune's Ross Ramsey  reminds us, Texas under Perry has received more than $17 billion in stimulus funding, some of which has been used to balance the state's last two budgets. 
  • The Rick Perry/Stephen Colbert love story (of sorts) — a product of Colbert's satirical jab at powerful, moneyed PACs — just got a little complicated. Politico reported Tuesday that Perry has picked up Salvatore Purpura, the treasurer of Colbert's own PAC, which recently aired ads urging Iowans to vote for "Rick Parry." "We’re happy for Sal and we are even happier that Governor Parry has sent the clear signal of which super PAC he trusts to receive all that unlimited money waiting to pour in on his behalf," Colbert wrote in an email to Politico. "Loud and clear, sir. Unofficially, loud and clear."
  • Two Fort Worth Democrats, state Sen. Wendy Davis and state Rep. Marc Veasey, on Tuesday won the right to intervene in a federal review of the state's Senate redistricting plans, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Democrats have alleged that the Republican-backed map dilutes the voting power of minorities.

"I'll cut him some slack. He's only been at it for a few days now."Barack Obama, in response to Rick Perry's suggestion that members of the U.S. military don't respect the president

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