Cain Gets Frontrunner Treatment at Las Vegas Debate
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain got a taste of frontrunner status during Tuesday’s CNN-Western Republican Leadership Conference debate. The Atlanta businessman and Tea Party favorite came under blistering criticism from his rivals over his so-called 9-9-9 economic plan.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) – the founder of the House Tea Party Caucus – led the charge, saying Cain’s plan would give Congress a dangerous new tool – the power of a new national sales tax.
“One thing I know about Congress, being a member of Congress for five years, is that any time you give the Congress a brand new tax, it doesn’t go away,”
Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) took the velvet glove over brass knuckles approach by first praising Cain for being “well-meaning” and expressing admiration for his “boldness” before he pounced.
“The fact of the matter is, I mean, reports are now out that 84 percent of Americans would pay more in taxes under his plan,” said Santorum, referring to a new Tax Policy Center analysis.
“The reason that my plan – the reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicians, they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that’s simple and fair,” said Cain. “They want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10 million-word mess,” Cain continued referring to the current tax code. “Let’s throw out the 10 million-word mess and put in our plan, which will liberate the American workers and liberate American businesses.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was equally dismissive of Cain’s plan.
“Herman, I love you brother, but let me tell you something: You don’t need to have a big analysis to figure this thing out. Go to New Hampshire, where they don’t have a sales tax, and you’re fixing to give them one,” he said. “They’re not interested in 9-9-9.”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Cain for his “courage to go out and take a specific very big idea at the right level,” but went on to say “there are much more complexities than Herman let’s on.”
Mitt Romney – who also played defense over the state health care law he created as governor of Massachusetts – took over the job of debate moderate at one point, asking Cain to confirm that his plan would add a federal sales tax to a Nevada state sales tax. Cain responded by accusing Romney of making an “apples and oranges comparison.”
“Fine,” Romney replied. “And I’m going to be getting a bushel basket that has apples and oranges in it because I’ve got to pay both taxes and the people in Nevada don’t want to pay both taxes.”