Keep Conservatives United, a North Carolina-based super PAC supporting Rep. Michele Bachmann for president, has released a commercial critical of Gov. Rick Perry that the group plans to start airing in South Carolina.
The ad blasts Perry for selling himself as a Tea Party Republican despite reportedly doubling spending in Texas since he took office in 2000. Moreover, it states Perry is spending more than the Lone Star State takes in, and then ends with images of Bachmann side-by-side with Perry.
There is an honest conservative and she's not Rick Perry, the ad concludes.
Perry's campaign has already shot back at the super PAC, claiming the governor is a confirmed fiscal conservative and job-creator who is worthy of Tea Party support.
Gov. Perry is a proven fiscal conservative, having cut taxes, signed six balanced budgets, and led Texas to become America's top job-creating state, Ray Sullivan, the communications director for Perry's presidential campaign, said in a statement on Thursday. Congresswoman Bachmann's front-group ad is patently and provably false.
The truth is, Perry seems like an ideal Tea Partier ... from the outside. State spending in Texas - meaning, the non-federal dollars that state lawmakers control - is six percent lower under Perry than it was under the two-year budget that was under effect when he took office, when adjusted for population growth and inflation. In unadjusted amounts, state spending was $80.5 billion for the 2012-13 biennium compared with $55.7 billion in 2000-01, while Texas' population growth plus inflation since 2001 is 54 percent.
Moreover, every budget signed by Perry has reportedly been balanced and the state had a Rainy Day Fund of $6 billion as of June, a fact that Perry has eagerly highlighted while on the campaign trail.
However, The Texas Tribune reports that almost all of that $6 billion has already been accounted for, effectively nullifying what appears to be a significant nest egg. Lawmakers have reportedly drawn down $3.1 billion of the fund's roughly $9.5 billion reserve to cover a deficit in the budget, according to the newspaper, while the state's projected share of expected Medicaid costs is currently underfunded by at least $4.8 billion, meaning the Rainy Day money will likely be used to foot that bill as well.
Perry is also credited for boosting job creation in Texas, which has produced nearly 40 percent of all new jobs in the U.S. since 2009. Again, while this initially appears to give Perry more street cred with Tea Party voters, here's something they would not be thrilled about: some of the biggest increases have been in healthcare, social assistance and government jobs. Those government industries have made the largest additions to their payrolls in the last decade, which has been great for job creation but doesn't necessarily work with Perry's small government platform.
As for Bachmann's spending record? Although she doesn't have a strong congressional voting record, she certainly fought for a piece of President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package while simultaneously slamming it in public. According to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by The Huffington Post, she has petitioned the federal government for direct financial help or aid on at least 16 separate occasions, a fact that completely underscores her strong anti-government message.