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article imageGOP debate focuses on 'Let's get Cain' theme

By Joan Firstenberg     Oct 12, 2011 in Politics
Hanover - Herman Cain is now the leader of the GOP pack running for President. So the rest of the group decided to pounce on him and deride his 9-9-9 tax plan for fixing the economy's ailments.
Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan was front and center in Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate as the new GOP front-runner promoted his flat tax proposal while his opponents made fun of it.
The ex-Godfather's Pizza boss, whose campaign has been picking up momentum since his surprise win in Florida's straw poll last month, says the plan will solve the country's financial difficulties.
It would dump the progressive federal income tax in favor of a 9% flat income tax for all Americans. The plan would slash the corporate tax rate to 9% from the current 35% rate. And it would introduce a new 9% national sales tax that average Americans would have to pay it in addition to the state or city sales taxes they are already paying.
The New York Daily News reports that Cain explained that his plan will give big business the confidence and capital to hire and spend, while simplifying the tax code and cutting the tax burden on ordinary Americans.
But the rest of the GOP candidates don't think it's an answer to anything, and they immediately jumped on it at Dartmouth College debate.
Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman,
"I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard it."
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said,
"It's not a jobs plan, it's a tax plan. You turn the 9-9-9 plan upside down and the devil's in the details."
Mitt Romney - who many say had the strongest showing in the debate - said it was just too simple.
"To get this economy restructured fundamentally, to put America on a path to be the most competitive place in the world to create jobs, is going to take someone who knows how to do it. "It's not one or two things."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry added his thoughts, ,
"I don't need 9-9-9. We don't need any plan to pass Congress. We need to get a President of the United States that is committed to passing the types of regulations, pulling the regulations back, freeing this country to go develop the energy industry that we have in this country."
And ex-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum polled the crowd on the 9-9-9 plan,
"Unlike Herman's plan, which could not pass, because, how many people here are for a sales tax in New Hampshire? Raise your hand. There you go, Herman. That's how many votes you'll get in New Hampshire."
Politico
reports that GOP strategist Mark McKinnon anointed Cain the victor, because the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO’s “9-9-9” plan was a central focus all night.
“When a debate spends about a third of the time debating your plan, you win. The guy who is in the spotlight right now, the guy who has launched himself to the top tier of most polls, the guy who got most of the questions, the guy who spent most of the night talking about his plan or answering questions or attacks on his plan, is the guy who won.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that the debate on the campus of Dartmouth College, sponsored by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, was the seventh of the nomination contest, and the first to focus just on economic policy.
Previous debates featured an uneven performance by Mr. Perry that helped knock him from his front-runner status for the nomination, and pressure was high on the Texas governor to perform well at this latest debate. But during this latest debate, pundits say Mr. Perry's performance was not strong enough to propel him forward again.
Mr. Cain was facing his own pressure to back up new number-one status with a riveting performance. And at one point, he did command attention, when he prevented Bloomberg TV from going to a commercial when he continued to speak.
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