WASHINGTON -- On Friday, Herman Cain responded to The Huffington Post's analysis of the similarities between his "999" economic plan and the default tax rate in "SimCity 4," saying he did not get the idea from the video game.
In a video aired Friday night on "The Rachel Maddow Show," a reporter asked Cain whether he had spent some time in the world of arcologies and flying lizards. "You said you had original ideas, successful people around you thinking ideas up," the reporter said while questioning Cain about the "999" plan. "Is it an original idea or modeled after a game?"
"It's an original idea, and for people to say it's modeled after a game -- it's a lie," Cain said during a campaign stop in Tennessee. "That's all I'm going to say. It is a lie. You see, that's the difference when you become one or two in the polls. People make up stuff. That is a lie. I'm not going to take it back and not going to politically say -- but unfortunately that is not totally true. It's a lie."
When asked for comment for the earlier report, Cain campaign spokesman JD Gordon replied, "Well, we all like '9-9-9.'"
In "SimCity 4," the default tax rate is 9 percent for commercial taxes, 9 percent for residential taxes and 9 percent for industrial taxes. In Herman Cain's America, the corporate income tax rate would be 9 percent, the personal income tax rate would be 9 percent and the national sales tax rate would be 9 percent.
Kip Katsarelis, a senior producer for Maxis, the company that created the 'SimCity' series, was excited that politicians may be looking to video games for ideas.
"We encourage politicians to continue to look to innovative games like SimCity for inspiration for social and economic change," said Katsarelis. "While we at Maxis and Electronic Arts do not endorse any political candidates or their platforms, it's interesting to see GOP candidate Herman Cain propose a simplified tax system like one we designed for the video game SimCity 4."
In the game, Katsarelis said, the hope was that a simpler tax code would enable a greater focus on infrastructure and national security. "Our game design team thought that an easy-to-understand taxation system would allow players to focus on building their cities and have fun thwarting giant lizard attacks, rather than be buried by overly complex financial systems."
On Friday night, Maddow quipped that Cain's denial of the "SimCity" influence was "giving up the opportunity to cultivate the aging but enthusiastic urban-planning video game market."