Before Tuesday night’s Republican presidential primary debate, Herman Cain, who has in the past few weeks landed in the top tier, predicted that his new status would mean a “bull’s eye” on his back. He was right. His 9-9-9 flat tax plan took the spotlight, although some economists have dismissed it for placing an increased burden on people who are already struggling economically.
"When you take the '9-9-9' plan and turn it upside-down, the devil's in the details," said Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, slyly alluding to the Satanic sequence of "6-6-6."
Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum said that Cain’s plan would never pass in Congress and would force people in states, including the key Republican primary state of New Hampshire, where the debate took place, to pay higher taxes. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman said 9-9-9 was a catchy phrase that he thought was “the price of a pizza when I first heard it” adding that, “we need something that's doable, doable, doable."
"Therein lies the difference between me, the non-politician, and all of the politicians," Cain said. "They want to pass what they think they can get passed rather than what we need, which is a bold solution. '9-9-9' is bold and the American people want a bold solution, not just what is going to kick the can down the road."
Republican candidates already in office and those who hope to replace President Obama in the White House next year have faced criticisms from Democrats for seeming to put the concerns of the nation’s wealthiest above those who are truly struggling in the current economic environment. Each candidate, at the end of the debate, was asked to explain how he or she would address their pain.
“I can connect with people's pain because I was po' before I was poor. My dad worked three jobs. I understand what that means,” said Cain, sounding a familiar refrain. “But more importantly, with my career and with my record, I understand that leaders are supposed to make sure we're working on the right problems, we assign the right priority; surround yourself with the right people, which will allow you to put together the right plans — and yes, sometimes those plans will be bold plans, because this economy is on life support.”
“I believe the best solutions are the ones closest to home. If we reach out as individuals to help people and have broken hearts for people and care for them on a personal basis, then we don't need big government to step in and do that job. The more that we can do to love people, the better off the society will be,” said Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/GettyImages)