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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Herman Cain Comes to Rogersville; Addresses Racial Criticism

"It ain't about race."

Those words from Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to your Douglass website reporter, when his campaign swung through Rogersville, Tennessee on Saturday, October 15, 2011.

We asked Cain what he feels about the historical significance that two African-Americans could possibly face each other, representing the country's two top parties for the presidency of the United States.

"It says that America does not care about color.. it ain't about color," he says. "It wasn't about color when Barack Obama got electd. This just puts an exclamation point: it ain't about color. It's going to be ideas and leadership, against ideas and leadership, and I'm going to win that battle."

Cain has drawn criticism from, some in the black community for his views on race.

At an earlier campaign stop in Harriman Saturday, Cain accused liberals of playing the race card "until it's the joker in the deck."

"America isn't worried about color. It's worried about content, character and ideas," he said. "It ain't about race."

In relation to that, Cain was asked what he would differently from President Obama.

"Lead," he said simply. "I'm going to lead. I'm going to surround myself with the right people. That's the problem we have now, I'm going to focus my people, and I'm going to solve stuff."

During the impromptu news conference, Cain was quick to defend his 9-9-9 plan, which would replace the complex U.S. tax code with a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax and a new 9 percent national sales tax. When asked if his 9-9-9 tax plan would place the federal, state and local sales tax at near 20 per cent in Tennessee (including Tennessee's state sales tax between 7 and 9.25%), Cain says his tax proposal would not affect states or municipalities.

"That's an irrelevant comparison," he said. "You're going to have your state tax no matter what. I want to make the federal piece better. The federal piece replaces... the 9-9-9 replaces the federal piece.. doesn't have anything to do with the state piece."

Cain also attacked some of the more conservative magazines, who have been reporting that the 9-9-9 tax plan is going to hurt the middle class.

"They are dead wrong.. sorry about that," he said. "The reason they are dead, dead wrong, is because they're not doing the math correctly. If they understood better taxes that are going to be taken out of products, 9% is simply a visible tax. The embedded taxes that are in products and goods and services right now, we're just going to make it visible."

Riding high in the polls, Cain met enthusiatic supports in the Rogersville City Park. The Kingsport Times-News picks up the story after the news conference, as Cain spoke to the crowd of supporters.



ROGERSVILLE — GOP presidential contender Herman Cain told a cheering crowd of more than 1,000 people Saturday that “message over money” is fueling his surge in the polls.

Click here to see a picture slideshow of the Cain rally at the Rogersville City Park .

"We’re not going to outraise anybody ... (but) we’re going to raise some cain, that’s what we’re going to do,” the Georgia businessman, ex-radio talk show host and former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive shouted at Rogersville City Park on the last leg of his Tennessee bus tour.

Cain’s main economic message: Throw out the current tax code and implement his “9-9-9” plan — a flat nine percent tax on business, income and sales — in the first 90 days of his administration.

Tax deductions for businesses buying U.S. goods will be allowed, and that should put domestic products on more level footing, Cain insisted.

“We can make stuff just as good as anybody else in the world,” he said. “When you take out those embedded taxes, we can compete anywhere in the world. ... We can leave everybody in the dust with 9-9-9.”

Cain said the plan meets five objectives: transparency, efficiency, fairness, simplicity and being revenue neutral.

State government in Tennessee is mostly paid for by a 7 percent sales tax, and many localities have a local option sales tax of more than 2 percent.

When asked for a response about the possibility of having a combined federal, state and local sales tax rate approaching 20 percent, Cain said: “That’s an irrelevant comparison. You’re going to have your state tax no matter what. I want to make the federal (tax) piece better. ... It doesn’t have anything to do with the state piece.”

Cain, now in a dead heat with GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney, told followers they are the reason he’s moving up the ladder in the polls.

“You are part of this sleeping giant that has awakened ... this sleeping giant called ‘We the people,’ ” Cain said. “The skeptics, the pundits and some people in the media, they still don’t get it. I saw it coming a year ago when I first started traveling around the country talking to people. ... It took some folk in the media and in the (Washington, D.C.) beltway, ... it took them until two weeks ago to wake up to what you all already knew. You already knew you were sick and tired of business and politics as usual.”

Cain noted conservative commentator George Will said it best: “When Herman Cain won the Florida Straw Poll, the liberals’ brains exploded. ... The long shot kept moving up and up, and all of a sudden he moved to tie Mitt Romney. ... Not only did all the liberals’ brains explode, all the establishment brains exploded.”

Cain pointed out campaign fund-raising numbers showing four other GOP candidates raising more money than him don’t tell the whole story. (They say) this guy Cain raised a piddling $2.8 million,” he said. “One of the Fox News anchors said ‘He’s winning and he doesn’t have any money.’ ”

Cain said his GOP opponents now try to take him on during debates. “Did y’all notice that big bull’seye on my back?” he joked. “(The other candidates) took a lot of shots at me the other night. I felt like the star of the show. They’re going to try to shoot at 9-9-9, but they’re going to lose.”

Cain said people at the grassroots level, meanwhile, are tired of America being a “nation of crisis” — in the economy, entitlement spending, energy, illegal immigration, foreign policy and leadership.

“The American people are saying we’re sick of it,” Cain stressed. “We are on a track to socialism, and this president (Democrat Barack Obama) knows it and he’s very arrogant about it. ... People went from concern to fear because we have a president and administration that does not care for the voice of the people.”

Obama’s proposed $450 billion jobs plan won’t work for the same reasons the $1 trillion stimulus plan didn’t work, Cain said. “Fourteen million people are still looking for work,” Cain said. “Most of (the stimulus money) was used to pay off his union buddies. And he did it arrogantly. ... He thinks the American people are stupid enough to believe that if a trillion dollars didn’t work, maybe about $450 billion might work. But you ain’t stupid.”

Whitesburg welder David O’Pry, who was at the Rogersville City Park more than three hours before Cain spoke, said Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency has killed his business. “I watched my business go to a bust because the regulations this president put into place. ... It’s more difficult, and more expensive for me to operate,” O’Pry said.

Cain said the news media wants people to believe he can’t beat Obama — who is outfundraising all GOP candidates — in a general election contest. “They think I’m in this to get a TV program,” Cain told the crowd.

Cain declared his health would not be an issue. “I’ve been cancer free for five years,” he said.

Hawkins County GOP Chairwoman Cecile Testerman predicted the Republican nomination race in Tennessee would be between Cain and Romney. “I think he’s very electable,” she said of Cain. “Absolutely electable. I think if he was to win the Republican nomination, I think he could win against the current president.”