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Herman Cain defends his ‘9-9-9' tax plan

Republican presidential aspirant Herman Cain acknowledged Sunday that his plan to simplify the tax code would raise taxes for some people, and he said his opposition to abortion was absolute.

Cain has proposed a “9-9-9" plan — a 9% personal income tax, a 9% corporate tax and a 9% federal sales tax. Scrapping the current federal tax code, which he described as a “10-million-word mess,” would eliminate a host of invisible taxes and eventually reduce prices, he said.

But some economists say the plan would shift the tax burden further from the rich to the poor and middle class.

When pressed on NBC’s “Meet the Press” about the effects of his plan, Cain said, “Some people will pay more. But most people will pay less.”

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Asked how he would get 9-9-9 through Congress, Cain said he would drum up public support.

“The American people understand it and are going to demand it,” said Cain, who has been chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza and chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Citing the simplicity of his positions and his conservative credentials, Cain said his lead in opinion polls would not peter out as some other candidates’ had.

“I don’t think Herman Cain will be a flavor of the week,” he said.

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An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday showed Cain as first choice for 27% of Republican voters. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney followed with 23%, and 16% of those polled chose Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

Perry shot to the top of national polls as soon as he entered the race but faded amid poor debate performances. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota was riding high in the summer, but she faded when Perry joined the race. Donald Trump led in polls in April but decided not to run.

On the abortion issue, Cain said, “I do not agree with abortion under any circumstances.” Even in cases of rape and incest, he said, “there are other options.”

Cain implied that abortion might be appropriate in an emergency when it would save the life of the mother. “The family is going to have to make that decision,” he said.

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Asked whether race was a factor in his campaign, Cain, who is African American, said no. Blacks are drawn to him “not because of my color but because of my ideas,” he said.

Given the opportunity, Cain did not back down from an earlier statement that “the objective of the liberals is to destroy this country.”

When he was asked to explain, Cain said, “They [liberals] do not believe in a stronger America, in my opinion.”

brian.bennett@latimes.com


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