"Face the Nation" transcript: October 30, 2011
HERMAN CAIN: I don't think that's the driving force. The last couple of days, I've given a lot of speeches as you can probably tell from my voice. But the reaction in terms of how people have responded to my speeches, talking about specific solutions relative to the economy, specific things that I would do differently with-- as it relates to this President and this administration, they are genuinely enthused about what I'm saying and how I'm saying it. Americans want to feel proud again. And they don't feel that pride right now.
BOB SCHIEFFER: You know, although people like you, the same polls also show that a-- a majority of Americans--pretty substantial majority--really don't like your trademark 9-9-9 plan, your proposal to junk the current tax code and impose this nine percent sales tax and nine percent income tax and nine percent corporate tax. You've already made a change in it saying it ought to be 9-0-9 so poor people don't have to-- to pay this additional tax. But do you think you're going to have to just go back to the drawing board on this?
HERMAN CAIN: Absolutely not. And one correction, Bob. I didn't make a change to it--9-0-9, it was already in the analysis, and it was misreported that I changed it. It's just that people who were trying to attack it didn't read the entire analysis.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But it said 9. It said 9-9-9.
HERMAN CAIN: Right. The plan--
BOB SCHIEFFER (OVERLAPPING): And now you say it's 9-0-9.
HERMAN CAIN: No, no, no, no, no, no. What we're saying is we've always had a provision in the revenue that we collect to be able to allow people at or below the poverty level to pay zero on that income if they're at or below the poverty level. So we're not modifying it. That's been a part of it all along.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Correct me if I'm wrong.
HERMAN CAIN: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Did you not refer to it as 9-0-9?
HERMAN CAIN: Just the poverty piece. Just the poverty piece, but not the entire plan. The entire plan is 9-9-9.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Isn't it going to still, though, cause poor people, middle income people to pay more taxes than they used to pay because you have a sales tax? I mean people go to the-- go to the Walmart or the Target to buy school clothes for the kids--
HERMAN CAIN: Right.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --a nine percent sales tax.
HERMAN CAIN: Here's where we have some more educating to do. The cost of goods will actually go down because the way 9-9-9 works is that we take out the invisible embedded taxes. So essentially what will happen is the embedded taxes, which have been estimated by many economists on everything that we buy in this country, to be anywhere from thirty to forty percent of the cost of the product. A loaf of bread--thirty to forty percent of embedded taxes. We take that out in that first 9 by the way that-- by way it works. And then they will essentially be paying that nine percent. We have some more educating of the public. And this is why maybe some people don't like it yet, but this is-- we would rather take on the task of explaining it because it's the right thing to do.
BOB SCHIEFFER: And you still believe in maintaining it is fair to put the same tax on groceries and the same tax on medicine for poor people as for rich people.
HERMAN CAIN: Yes, because the cost of those items are going to go down. That's the hardest part to sell. But we're willing to take on that fight.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I want to ask you about the ad that we just saw at the top of this broadcast.
HERMAN CAIN: Yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: I just want to show you-- and-- and I will preface that by saying the person doing the talking here is your campaign manager, Mark Block.
HERMAN CAIN: Chief of staff, yes.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Just listen to this.
MARK BLOCK (Campaign Web Ad): We've run a campaign like nobody has ever seen. But then America has never seen a candidate like Herman Cain. We need you to get involved because together we can do this. We can take this country back.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mister Cain, I-- I just have to ask you. What is the point of that, having a man smoke a cigarette in a television commercial for you?
HERMAN CAIN: One of the themes within this campaign is let Herman be Herman. Mark Block is a smoker, and we say let Mark be Mark. That's all we're trying to say because we believe let people be people. He doesn't deny that he's a smoker. This isn't trying to--
BOB SCHIEFFER: Are you a smoker?
HERMAN CAIN: No, I'm not a smoker. But I don't have a problem if that's his choice. So let Herman be Herman. Let Mark be Mark. Let people be people. This wasn't intended to send any subliminal signal whatsoever.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But it does. It sends a signal that it's cool to smoke.
HERMAN CAIN: No, it does not. Mark Block smokes. That's all that ad says. We weren't trying to say it's cool to smoke. You have a lot of people in this country that smoke but what I respect about Mark as a smoker, who is my chief of staff, he never smokes around me or smokes around anyone else. He goes outside.
BOB SCHIEFFER: But he smokes on television.
HERMAN CAIN: Well, he smokes on television. But that was no other subliminal message.
BOB SCHIEFFER: Was it meant to be funny?
HERMAN CAIN: It was meant to be informative, if they listen to the message where he said, "America has never seen a candidate like Herman Cain." That was the main point of it. And the-- the bit on the end, we didn't know whether it was going to be funny to some people or whether they were going to ignore it--
BOB SCHIEFFER (overlapping): Well--
HERMAN CAIN: --or whatever the case may be.
BOB SCHIEFFER: --let me just tell you, it's not funny to me.
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