Herman Cain promised in a radio interview Tuesday that he would take on GOP front-runner Mitt Romney, but he first found himself dodging verbal brickbats from the rest of the GOP field.
“I’m going after Romney,” Cain had declared in a preview of his debate strategy earlier in the day. “I’m not going after Perry. I don’t need to go after Perry,” Cain told libertarian-leaning radio host Neal Boortz.
The debate, held in the second state on the GOP primary calendar, New Hampshire, was co-sponsored by Bloomberg Television, The Washington Post, and Dartmouth College.
Cain predicted that given the jobs-only focus of the debate made it all but inevitable that his GOP rivals would attack his 9-9-9 plan. That proposal involves a 9 percent flat tax for businesses, a 9 percent flat tax for individuals, and a 9 percent national sales tax.
True to his prediction, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman said Cain’s plan had a catchy title, adding “I thought it was the price of a pizza” -- a reference to Cain’s former occupation as CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. That remark drew laughter from the crowd, but Cain immediately fired back.
“9-9-9 will pass,” Cain said confidently, “and it’s not the price of a pizza, because it has been well studied and well developed… it starts with, unlike your proposals, throwing out the current tax code. Continuing to pivot off the current tax code is not going to boost this economy.. This is why we developed 9-9-9 … and it will pass … because the American people want it to pass.”
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