Tags: Cain | campaign | republican | 999

Cain's Campaign in Front-runner Mode

By Dan Weil   |   Friday, 14 Oct 2011 10:45 AM

The Cain campaign for the Republican nomination is riding a winning streak in several straw polls. Between his 999 plan and his rapport with the common folk, the Herman Cain rubber has now truly hit the road. The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO must prove that his recent rise in the polls – he took first place in an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey released this week – is more than a flavor of the week, Politico reports.

The rise of Cain, political analysts say, is a reflection of prolonged hunger among a segment of Republican voters for someone to inspire: someone who isn’t former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who has been criticized for inconstancy.

Herman Cain’s catchy 999 tax overhaul system is gathering major supporters as he consolidates his position at the top of the Republican field in the race for the White House.

It starts with fundraising. The Cain campaign is required to report his third-quarter numbers before Monday. In the second quarter, he had to lend the campaign $500,000 to avoid going into debt.

“What else does he have to do? He has to raise $100 million,” Republican media consultant Rick Wilson told Politico. “You don’t get to just be popular. You don’t get to just hope that everything comes together. You have to file in these states and you have to go through all the procedural things.”

Editor’s note: Can Cain’s Campaign Win the Republican Vote?

Initially the Cain campaign team was just a skeletal staff, designed more for a national republican campaign than going state to state. As recently as last week, he was combining his campaign travel with a book tour. He has barely traveled to Iowa and New Hampshire in weeks. The Cain camp says it is recruiting political campaign strategists and has brought more communications staffers on board.

Cain also will have to broaden his horizon on policy. So far he has focused almost completely on his “999” tax plan, which entails dropping the current tax code and replacing it with a 9 percent tax on ordinary income, a 9 percent sales tax, and a 9 percent corporate tax. But he hasn’t seriously answered questions about it, and he has been unwilling to even take a stance on the Afghanistan war.

Cain needs to go beyond 999 and present more ideas on the economy if he wants republicans to see the “real, populist, outsider conservative in the race who can bring real change,” conservative public relations operative Greg Mueller told Politico.

“Let [the ‘999’ plan] be the subject, people will love it. Keep defending it,” he said. “But he really ought to expand out and get into some energy issues, get into some other things that are real economic drivers.”

More is coming, the Cain camp says. “We’re going to continue to get the word out about ‘999’ and ensure we’re connecting with the American people,” Cain spokesman J.D. Gordon told Politico. “The staff is 35 and rapidly expanding because we now have the funding stream to have new hires.”

Editor’s note: Can Cain’s Campaign Win the Republican Vote?

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