Herman Cain: My supporters "do not defect"

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks prior to Florida's President 5 straw poll at the Orange County Convention Center on September 24, 2011 in Orlando, Florida. Cain won the straw poll with 37.11% of the vote. Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

White House hopeful Herman Cain on Wednesday challenged Sarah Palin's assertion that he is the "flavor of the week" and said his campaign is growing steadily because his supporters "do not defect."

The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza won a Florida Straw Poll on Saturday with 37 percent of the vote, prompting the Fox News analyst and former governor of Alaska to call him the flavor of the week. Texas Gov. Rick Perry garnered 15 percent, while former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took 14 percent.

"Rather than being the flavor of the week, people are saying, ah, there is more to that flavor than meets the eye," Cain said in an interview on CBS' "The Early Show."

"I have a message that is resonating with the American people, the voters," he said.

The long-shot candidate touted his catchy 9-9-9 plan for jumpstarting the economy as one reason he is gaining traction in the polls.

While the name is simple, the plan would be a total overhaul of the U.S. tax code. There would be a 9 percent flat income tax, a 9 percent corporate tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

"As you look at my campaign, it continues to build and build and build. It doesn't go down. Cain supporters do not defect," Cain said.

Asked about the possible entry of N.J. Gov. Chris Christie into an already crowded field, Cain said he would welcome another candidate.

"Come on down as they say," Cain said, "the real voters out there are watching the Herman Cain campaign and we are going to continue to build and we are not going to change our tactics or our strategy" if Christie jumps in the race.

Christie has repeatedly denied he plans to run for president in 2012, though his denial Tuesday was softer than prior ones.

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    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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