First abortion, now 9-9-9. Is Herman Cain waffling?
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain was forced to defend comments on abortion that angered conservatives. Now, he's introducing exceptions to his 9-9-9 tax plan. This week, at least, Herman Cain appears to be struggling in the spotlight.
Herman Cain is having one of the more improbable presidential campaigns in American history. Or at least of this cycle.Skip to next paragraph
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Once seen as a long-shot novelty act, the former pizza magnate is now getting the scrutiny of a front-runner, forcing him to tweak his 9-9-9 plan, reassure conservatives on abortion, and add staff. At least his fundraising has picked up, his campaign reports.
Speaking Friday morning in a run-down neighborhood in Detroit, Mr. Cain reacted to bipartisan criticism of his 9-9-9 plan – catchy for its simplicity – and made it a bit less simple. He would now allow some deductions, and set up “opportunity zones” to attract business investment in depressed neighborhoods. He suggested eliminating the minimum wage in struggling areas to boost employment.
At Tuesday’s debate in Las Vegas, 9-9-9 came under fierce attack from the other Republicans on stage, with data showing it would raise taxes for most Americans, in particular low-income people and the middle class. Cain’s original plan would eliminate all current taxes, including on capital gains, and replace them with a 9 percent tax on personal income, a 9 percent national sales tax, and a 9 percent business tax.
“When I look at this building behind me, I see opportunity – if we get capital gains out of the way,” Cain said after his speech in Detroit, according to the Associated Press.
“Because taxes and regulations have gotten so bad, people with money don’t want to take risks,” he added.
Cain also told reporters that the new elements he discussed on Friday were not a change. “We didn’t want to put it all out there at once,” he said.
The day before, Cain tried to put out the firestorm over views on abortion he had articulated Wednesday on CNN. He said he opposed abortion but added that “it’s not the government’s role or anybody else’s role to make that decision.”
“It ultimately gets down to a choice that that family or that mother has to make,” Cain said.
Again, Cain faced criticism. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called Cain’s comment the “quintessential pro-choice position on abortion.”