Herman Cain to Face the Nation

CBS

The frontrunner comes to Face the Nation. "When people get on the Cain train, they don't get off," says Herman Cain, the Atlanta businessman who has rocketed to the top of the polls. Cain leads the field with support of 25 percent of Republican primary voters in the latest CBS News/New York Times Poll, up from just 5 percent a month ago. A new Des Moines Register poll of Iowa Caucus voters is due out Sunday, we'll have the very latest on that.

Cain also leads all other candidates with 32 percent support of Tea Party backers, up from 7 percent in the September 16th poll.

"I'm in it to win it folks," said Cain today in Alabama.

The big question is can Cain win it?

The latest Gallup poll shows Cain making remarkable strides among the Republican field, leading with 74 percent favorability, compared to only 16 percent unfavorable, the lowest in the field. And near the top with 78 percent name recognition.

"For two weeks all you could hear was, Romney Perry, Perry Romney, Romney Perry, Perry Romney. I thought it was a new song or something!" said Cain earlier this week. His rise has come at the expense of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who is polling in the single digits in the new CBS News/New York Times poll. Mitt Romney, the former Governor of Massachusetts, has consistently been at the top of the polls and continues to do perform well in key states. Romney and Cain are now the top contenders for the Republican nomination.

"Message is more important than money" says Cain highlighting a key challenge for his surging campaign. He doesn't have the fundraising, the campaign staff or the key state infrastructure that Romney and Perry do, but yet he continues to lead as his unconventional campaign is defying all expectations -- relying on a positive can-do message about turning the economy and the country around.

And an unusual web video featuring his campaign manager smoking a cigarette saying "America's never seen a candidate like Herman Cain" has become Internet gold. It has been viewed over one million times on YouTube and according to his campaign manager, has led to millions of dollars in donations for Cain's campaign just this week.

All of this comes as Cain's signature tax 9-9-9 tax plan has lost favor among voters according to some polls.

"Everybody gets treated the same, what a novel idea. All businesses get treated the same, no loopholes, no special exemptions except for those that are at or below the poverty level," he said. But according to the latest ABC News poll, the 9-9-9 plan is seen unfavorably by 56 percent of Americans. Yet he continues to surge and push the simple straightforward tax plan.

"There's a lot of bad information out there, and with this big bulls-eye on my back you're going to hear a lot of things about me. If they can't find anything they'll make it up," said Cain last night, referring to the attacks he's faced in his new front-runner status.

Can Herman Cain keep up the momentum? Does he have the money and staff to compete or has his unconventional campaign changed the political landscape? Is this a two-man race between Cain and Romney? Those will among the topics discussed as frontrunner Herman Cain joins Bob Schieffer to Face the Nation.

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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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