Thompson Flip Flops on Taxes?

Former senator says he'd replace federal tax code, campaign denies statement.

ByABC News
February 11, 2009, 10:05 PM

July 31, 2007 — -- Former Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., appears to have flip flopped on his pledge to sign federal legislation replacing all federal taxes with a 23 percent sales tax, according to an unedited video reviewed by ABC News.

"He has not taken this pledge," Thompson spokesperson Linda Rozett told ABC News.

The Thompson camp's denial appears to be contradicted, however, by an unedited video in which Thompson is asked, "Senator, if the House and Senate pass the 'Fair Tax' bill do you feel right now that you would sign it?"

Thompson replies to the question by saying, "Yeah, absolutely."

"Fred Thompson may have spoken without thinking. But the tape is accurate," said spokesman Ken Hoagland.

The Democratic National Committee seized on the all-but-announced candidate's apparent contradiction with his own staff, questioning whether the actor turned politician is qualified for the role of commander-in-chief.

"Fumbling Fred Thompson's flip flop on the 'Fair Tax' issue shows once again that his presidential campaign is just not ready for prime-time," said DNC spokeswoman Amaya Smith. "Next time Thompson should make sure that he's on the same script as his advisors before changing his position on an issue."

The disputed Thompson incident occurred when Doug Ripley, the controller of, asked him about the tax overhaul measure as the former senator greeted supporters at an airport hangar in Houston on July 24.

You can watch the i-CAUGHT video, which was shot by media producer Paul Yeager, by clicking here.

The federal taxes that would be swept away by the "Fair Tax" legislation include all federal personal and corporate income taxes, gift, estate, capital gains, alternative minimum, Social Security, Medicare and self-employment taxes. In place of those taxes, the "Fair Tax" legislation would impose a 23 percent sales tax.

The legislation would abolish all current federal tax credits and tax deductions. But in order to offset the impact that the new 23 percent sales tax would have on American households languishing in poverty, the legislation would offer a monthly prebate.

The size of a household's prebate would be calculated by multiplying 23 percent -- the size of the new tax -- against the government-established poverty level for a household of that size.

According to the 2007 federal poverty level, an adult with no children would receive an annual prebate of $2,348 (which would come in monthly checks of $196). A married couple with two children would receive an annual prebate of $6,297, which would come in monthly checks of $525.

"Fair Tax" supporters opted for a prebate system, which would flow even to the richest Americans, rather than exempting certain staples of life, in the hopes of protecting the new sales tax from the kinds of lobbying-induced loopholes that pervade the current system.