GOP rivals focus on flat taxes, smaller government

By TOM RAUM | October 29, 2011 | 10:00 AM EDT

Republican presidential candidate, Texas Gov. Rick Perry tapes a radio show, Friday, Oct. 28, 2011, in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Jim Cole)

WASHINGTON (AP) — On jobs and taxes, the top Republican presidential candidates are locked in a fierce game of one-upmanship. They're trying to outdo each other in offering the boldest economic plan for the campaign to unseat President Barack Obama next November.

Despite some notable differences, their blueprints all are built around the central theme that Obama's stimulus programs haven't worked and his job creation record is dismal.

Many are backing ambitious proposals for a single-rate flat tax. That's a concept hailed by numerous Republicans and some Democrats for its simplicity, yet it's never attracted much congressional support.

They're also calling for deep spending cuts, reduced regulation and an emphasis on private enterprise as the true engine of job creation.

Just how their plans would help create millions of jobs isn't always clear.