The bad blood between Rick Perry and George W. Bush, or at least between their loyalists, is more evident than ever. Perry, the Texas governor and the latest entrant into the 2012 presidential race, triggered the latest dust-up when he tried to put distance between himself and his former patron.
Asked by reporters last weekend to describe the differences between them, Perry sniped that he went to Texas A&M while Bush went to Yale, a reference to the former president's privileged background.
Karl Rove, a Fox News commentator and formerly Bush's chief political adviser, said Perry was wrong to separate himself from Bush because he should be trying to expand his support as widely as possible. Rove also took issue with Perry's comment that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, who was appointed by Bush, was developing economic policies that were almost "treasonous."
Rove said, "Governor Perry is going to have to fight the impression that he's a cowboy from Texas. This simply added to it."
Peter Wehner, another former Bush adviser in the White House, said in a Commentary essay that Perry's remark about Bernanke was "the kind of blustering, unthinking comment that Perry's critics expect of him."
The hard feelings between the Bush and Perry camps were intensified last year because former President George H.W. Bush endorsed Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison when she challenged Perry for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Perry won easily.
Perry succeeded Bush as Texas governor nearly 11 years ago.
One potential problem for Perry is that Rove has many links to GOP contributors and it's possible that, if the rivalry gets worse, he could impede Perry's fund-raising for his presidential campaign. Rove is also influential among conservatives as a Fox TV commentator, and if he continues to criticize Perry, it could hurt the Texan's prospects with rank-and-file Republicans and GOP operatives.