Sunday evening, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain spoke at the Statesman of the Year dinner in Sarasota honoring Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi.
About 380 people attended the event which was organized by the Republican Party of Sarasota. It was held at the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium at 801 N. Tamiami Trail in Sarasota.
Before Cain addressed the crowd on stage, he spoke with 10 News during an exclusive interview about about his 9-9-9 plan, why he thinks he’s slipped to third place in the polls and why he disagrees with bringing the troops home from Iraq by the end of the year.
He announced that his campaign is releasing what he calls a movie that better explains his 9-9-9 plan for economic growth. In the online video that’s posted on his campaign website he calls our current tax code the “21st century version of slavery.” Cain calls the IRS the overseer and says 9-9-9 will replace oppression with prosperity by tearing the chains off the backs of the American people.
He proposes a 9% corporate flat tax, a 9% personal flat tax and a 9% national sales tax.
But analysts from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center question whether it work. It found that the plan would increase taxes on 84% of Americans, with those in the lowest income bracket being hit the hardest.
Cain says, “The critics of 9-9-9 – who have said that it won’t work – they are dead wrong. Here, again, they have basically changed some of the assumptions in our analysis to get the results that they want.”
He has altered the plan, saying the poorest Americans who live under the official poverty line, and corporations that invest in low income areas would not have to pay the 9% rate.
When it comes to the war in Iraq Cain says President Barack Obama’s withdrawal is a disservice to the troops who lost their lives there. He says he’s against what he calls a politically determined and preannounced date to pull troops out.
It currently costs $3.8 billion to fight the war in Iraq each month.
Cain says, “But here’s the other price we have paid: the lives of the men and women who have died. And now we’re going to walk away prematurely because he’ll be able to say next year during the presidential election next year, ‘I brought the troops home.'”
He says he wouldn’t leave the troops there indefinitely but adds that the number one priority in the U.S. must be the economy and creating jobs.
According to national polls, Cain has dropped behind Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. He blames the media partly for that slip. He says media reports that focus on the sexual harassment accusations against him have hurt him. “They were false accusations. End of story.”
Cain has no political experience. He climbed the corporate ladder working for Coca-Cola, Pillsbury and Burger King before bringing Godfather’s Pizza back from the brink of bankruptcy. Still, he has confidence he can handle the duties of Commander-in-Chief. “It’s not about having been in politics. It’s about knowing how to lead.”
The Republican presidential candidate talked about what he calls, “A whole other side of me that people might not be familiar with.” He says back in 1996 while working in corporate America in Omaha, Nebraska he cut a gospel CD.
Cain says he sang, “Precious Lord” and “My Soul is Anchored in the Lord”. “Church music is something I really enjoyed doing. I was the youth choir director and I also used to do gospel concerts where I would raise money for local charitable organizations.”