Twice, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has announced major policy initiatives, and twice, GOP competitor Rep. Michele Bachmann has accused him of stealing her ideas.
On Tuesday Perry rolled out his proposed tax overhaul, the centerpiece of which was an optional flat tax.
“Each individual taxpayer will have a choice,” he said of his proposal. “You can continue to pay your taxes, as well as the lawyers and accountants, or you can file on a postcard.”
But Bachmann’s team wasted no time claiming on Facebook that the governor pilfered ideas she’s been mentioning on the stump for weeks.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; thank you Governor Perry for using my ideas for your tax plan,” she posted on Facebook late Tuesday.
“The ideas are the same Michele been talking about for weeks and months,” Bachmann spokeswoman Alice Stewart told ABC News, mentioning the flat tax and repatriation – or reducing foreign capital investment.
“If you look at her plan and look at his similar ideas, she’s pushing for a flatter, fairer tax system,” Stewart said. “These are things she’s mentioned for some time now — repatriation, lowering the corporate rate, many aspects of his plan have been ideas that Michele first mentioned.”
Stewart said Bachmann was first to say that the tax protocol should be simplified to filing on a postcard.
The only thing different is that Bachmann has “made a point to say everyone needs to pay something, even if it’s only $1,” Stewart said.
Many of the candidates and other Republicans have mentioned similar plans. Asked if Perry was just reflecting a contemporary GOP position or actively stealing from Bachmann, Stewart demurred.
Both candidates are fighting to woo the same conservative wing of the party, and both have seen a slump in the polls in recent weeks.
“You have to ask him where the ideas came from,” said Stewart, but “much of his plan included ideas she mentioned first.”
Bachmann unrolled an 11-point jobs and tax proposal she called her American Jobs, Right Now blueprint. Light on specifics, the plan includes repatriation, cutting taxes, and opening federal land to energy exploration.
Bachmann also took Perry to task when he rolled out his jobs and energy plan in Pittsburgh earlier this month.
“I want to thank Gov. Perry for endorsing my energy plan, that he’s coming out with today,” she told a crowd that day in Iowa.
“All summer long, I’ve talked about my energy plan, but really during my entire time in Congress, going back to summer of 2008 when I was on an American Energy tour, it was up in [the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], I’ve been talking about these common sense solutions for American energy. It’s an all-of-the-above energy plan utilizing American resources,” she said.
The Perry campaign did not respond to a request for comment.