Herman Cain made an appearance on Meet the Press on Sunday, and he made news: admitting his signature “9-9-9” plan would mean some Americans would pay more in taxes. Here are nine takeaways (nine being the operative number for all things Herman Cain) from the interview.
1. Call him a “black American” not “African-American”
The former Godfather’s Pizza executive, who has claimed President Barack Obama was “never a part of the black experience in America,” also has some thoughts about his own racial identity. In short, he does not wish to be called “African-American,” preferring the term “black American,” because he says that while his “roots go back through slavery in this country. Yes they came from Africa, but the roots of my heritage are in the United States of America, so I consider myself a black American.”
He also claims that the difference between himself and President Obama is that his parents “never saw themselves as a victim, I wasn’t raised as a victim, and I never had anything handed to me,” implying that the opposite is true of the president (who was raised by a single mother.) Watch:
2. His “9-9-9” plan would mean higher taxes for some (but not for the rich)
During the interview, Cain was pinned down on the potential consequences of enacting his signature “9-9-9” plan, which would replace the current tax code with a 9 percent income tax, reduce the corporate tax rate to 9 percent, and institute a 9 percent national sales tax. Economists, and a growing number of conservatives, are criticizing the plan as adding to the tax burden of some Americans. Economists warn the national sales tax — including a new tax on food — would hit lower income Americans hardest, while the reduction in the capital gains tax would cut the tax burden for the rich.
Cain denied his plan would hurt the poor, but admitted to David Gregory: “Some people will pay more. But most people will pay less.” And who would pay more according to Cain? “The people who spend more money on new goods. The sales tax only applies to people who buy new goods, not used goods. That’s a big difference.” Read more. Watch:
3. Americans will rally behind lower taxes for the rich
Pressed further on his tax plan, and whether it has a realistic chance of passage, Cain said public support for his “simple” plan would help push it through. And asked whether the American people would rally a plan that lowers taxes for the rich and raises them on the middle class and the poor, Cain said emphatically, “yes,” adding, “because if they do the math, do the math on your individual situation, people are going to benefit several other ways other than whether they pay more in taxes.”
4. He’s “not familiar” with neo-conservatism
Can has been criticized for lacking depth on foreign policy, and in the Meet the Press interview, he seemed to stumble on the question of whether the recently uncovered alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador was an act of war. Furthermore, when asked if he is a “neo-conservative” — the band of ultra-hawkish conservatives who pushed for the invasion of Iraq — Cain stated that he is Watch:
5. He was “joking” about wanting to build an electrified fence surrounded by a moat filled with alligators, to keep illegal immigrants out.
Cain drew criticism, including from Hispanic Republicans, for comments he made in Iowa Tennessee (and in his book) regarding illegal immigration, in which he said that as president, he would erect an
6. He’s a Clarence Thomas fan.
Asked by Gregory to name some Supreme Court Justices who would be a template for the kind of Justice he would appoint, Cain, after a pause, named Clarence Thomas — a fellow black conservative appointed to the court by President George Herbert Walker Bush despite controversy over his alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill when both worked for the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission. Cain praised Thomas for “solid legal thinking,” and said he believes the conservative jurist is attacked unfairly. Watch:
7. He believes liberals are on a “mission to destroy America.”
Cain was critical of the protesters who have converged on Wall Street and banks in cities across the U.S. and around the world, saying they are targeting the wrong opponents. Cain believes the protesters should be picketing the White House instead of the financial elite. And Cain doubled down on past comments that liberals are on a “mission to destroy America,” saying they seek to destroy America’s “economic capability” so that they can then cut defense. Watch:
8. Wouldn’t seek a constitutional marriage ban, but opposes abortion in all cases
On social issues, Cain said he is strongly in favor of traditional marriage, but that he wouldn’t seek a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, preferring to leave it to the states. He also declared himself to be “pro life in all circumstances,” even opposing abortion in cases of rape or incest. On whether abortion should be allowed in cases where it is necessary to save the life of the mother, Cain said that in those cases, the family should make that determination. Watch:
9. Denies he’s the latest “flavor of the week”
Cain said he won’t go the way of Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann and other onetime front-runners who faded in the GOP field. Why? “Because of the substance of my ideals,” Cain said, insisting that his “9-9-9” plan is “catching on” and pegging his future success on the issue of illegal immigration, which has tripped up Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Cain also discussed his fundraising — an area where he has lagged behind former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Perry. Cain raised $2.6 million in the third quarter, which MSNBC’s Chuck Todd pegged as strong fundraising if Cain can keep up the $1 million per week pace.