Grover Norquist "is a fraud," Republican former Sen. Alan Simpson told CNBC on Friday, rejecting criticism by the antitax crusader that the 2010 Simpson-Bowles debt reduction plan would have boosted taxes by $5 trillion over a decade.
"[Norquist] has a voodoo doll of me on his bed chamber. And he pokes little holes in it," Simpson said in a "Squawk Box" interview. "There wouldn't be a thing Erskine [Bowles] and I ever did that Grover Norquist wouldn't get on his white horse and get his robes on and ride through the countryside like Paul Revere in reverse. This guy is a fraud."
On Wednesday's show, Norquist criticized the Simpson-Bowles plan for lack of specifics:
"The challenge with Simpson and Bowles is that they tried to do it with a massive tax increase included in it," said Norquist, founder of Americans for Tax Reform. "The idea of reducing marginal tax rates is great, but their plan was about a $5 trillion increase in the next decade. That's why it was a nonstarter. They always talk about lowering the rates, the only number in Simpson and Bowles were on the pages, by the way, the page numbers. They talk in interesting generalities, but when you got down to what they want to do it was a massive net tax increase, they didn't quite tell you where the money was coming from."
In response to Simpson's remarks, Norquist emailed a statement to CNBC, which read in part: "Interesting how they didn't deny that Simpson Bowles was a massive tax increase and a massive spending increase."
Norquist also wrote: "Even the internal score of Simpson-Bowles admits the plan raised taxes."
Bowles, Democratic co-chair of the failed bipartisan commission set up by President Barack Obama, said Friday: "[Norquist] talked about no numbers in our plan. We specifically said how we exactly we would slow the rate of growth of health care and bend the health-care cost curve. We have over $600 billion of fully spelled out cuts." Bowles also said the plan was detailed on how reduce discretionary spending and how to save Social Security.
"What Grover did, and it was very clever, was to get a pledge from people that under no circumstances would they ever raise taxes. And they sign it," Simpson said. "I think he has got a bust of Ronald Reagan in his office. And Ronald Reagan raised taxes eight times in his eight years of presidency. Why? To make the country run. If anyone believes this revenue-neutral business can go on much longer, they need help. This revenue neutral is impossible."