Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain and his “9-9-9” plan stole the spotlight at a Tuesday night debate among Republican presidential candidates in New Hampshire.
The GOP candidates took their turns weighing in on Cain and their own plans to boost the economy and job creation at the debate, while front runner Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, emerged relatively unscathed.
Cain, who’s surged to second place in recent national polling, talked up the plan — which calls for a nine percent tax on personal income, business income and sales — and responded to criticism from other GOP presidential hopefuls.
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann said it’s “not a jobs plan; it’s a tax plan.”
“When you take the ‘9-9-9’ plan and turn it upside-down, the devil’s in the details,” she said, referencing the Satanic sequence of numbers, “6-6-6.”
“I don’t need ‘9-9-9,’ We don’t need any plan to pass Congress. We need to get a president of the United States that is committed to passing the types of regulations, pulling the regulations back, freeing this country to go develop the energy industry that we have in this country,” said Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whom Cain has overtaken in recent primary polls.
The intensive focus on Cain left Romney relatively free to focus on President Obama and his own economic record — points which his campaign believes are an asset to his candidacy. He managed to fend off most criticism in yet another strong debate performance, while Perry at times struggled to assert himself in the round table discussion.