NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Herman Cain kicking off a bus tour through Tennessee today.
He joins me right now on the phone.
Herman, always good to have you.
And congratulations on these continuing strong poll numbers. But they’re all gunning for you here. They’re looking at the 999 thing, and say, it doesn’t add up, close, close, close.
So with your rise has come the hits. Are you surprised?
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: No, I’m not, Neil.
I woke up after I vaulted to the top with a bigger bulls eye on my back, and the arrows just haven’t stopped coming. But you know what, Neil? It is the most pleasant pain I have ever felt in my life. But, no, we did expect it. And you know they’re going to try and find everything in the world wrong with 999. They are going to try to find everything wrong with me as a candidate. They’re already talking about I haven’t had previous high office experience.
But you know what, Neil? Here’s what they’re missing. And I just saw this here in Bartlett, Tennessee. We were in Bartlett, Tennessee. We went over to Jackson. We had 3,000 people come out in the middle of the day to hear me speak.
They are out of touch, Neil, with what the real people out there are saying, which is why I’m starting to move up in these polls. And I’m not going to be a flavor of the week, I assure you.
CAVUTO: You obviously are keeping that position about rising in some of these polls. You’re ahead in Florida. You’re ahead in a lot of these states where you were just an asterisk not too long ago.
But I talked to one pollster not too long ago, and a political historian just earlier on this very show, who said you need money, and you don’t have much money, and that is what is going to be your undoing.
Are you really that hurting for money?
CAIN: No, we’re not.
We’re going to report for the second quarter, Neil -- I just got these numbers today -- we’re going to report over a million dollars cash on hand and no debt. This is what people are missing. Now, ever since October 1, up until today, October 14, our fund-raising and contributions have literally quadrupled.
So we are doing quite well as far as fund-raising, although we...
CAVUTO: When you say it’s quadruple, when you know that people like Mitt Romney are taking in $17 million, $18 million and some of these others are taking in double-digit-million dollars, and there you are, you know, with a million dollars cash on hand, not too shabby, but not remotely financially competitive.
CAIN: Right. Right. Exactly.
But, Neil, here’s why we don’t -- we’re not looking to raise the biggest amount of money. The traditional model is top-down, where you need to be -- you need to raise the most amount of money, so you can waste it on attacking somebody on TV.
I’m on a bus tour here in Tennessee, and getting thousands and thousands of people to come out. One of the things that came out of that Florida straw poll, Neil, is that message is more powerful than money.
And that’s why I’m up in the polls. And this is why I don’t need to have more money than them or raise a billion dollars like Obama. The American people, they’re listening to my message. And part of that message, as you know, is that 999 plan.
CAVUTO: All right, now, on the 999 plan -- and you have heard it from all sides and all angles, is that it’s criticized as being very regressive, and that folks who don’t earn that much money will be directly impacted by that national sales tax, if you will, a tax that your critics say will only go up, because that’s Washington’s ways, and that that’s the bone of contention.
In the last debate, in fact, that was raised by folks like Senator Santorum, who said try selling that in New Hampshire, where they have a thing against anything like that, and that that is going to kill you there, and as more people grasp what you’re talking about, they are going to say, well, wait a minute, this 999 thing is -- is risky.
What do you say?
CAIN: Well, first of all, it is not regressive. And to the people who say it is regressive on the poor, I simply say, do the math.
They say that, Neil, but they never offer you any proof based upon the assumptions that we have in our analysis. And, by the way, we’re willing to share our analysis with anybody who wants to see it, if they contact us.
Secondly, that shows the difference between all of the politicians and Herman Cain. The politicians want to basically propose something that they think they can pass. I’m proposing solutions that will solve the problem.
And the problem we have right now is that this economy is on life support. And this plan has been scored, and it’s going to boost this economy at about a 5 percent growth rate, six million new jobs, and, more importantly, businesses are going to feel some certainty and they are going to be in a mode to grow again.
Most of the criticisms of 999, Neil, they are unfounded and untrue, but they won’t give you their proof as to why they’re saying these things. Now, here’s the other thing that they hate most about 999. The people get it. And as far as giving Congress sales tax to tax us on, it is -- it is simple, transparent and visible.
The American people are going to be the one to hold Congress’ feet to the fire. I would rather have one thing to watch than 100,000 sneak attacks in the current tax code. And I think that the American people get that.
CAVUTO: Now, I know, with the 9 percent sales tax, you’re trying to take money that’s in the underground economy, or those who try to dodge paying income taxes or skate off with write-offs and the rest by not paying these taxes, you take that out of the underground, you could raise a good deal of money.
And I know you talk to economists who say they have crunched the numbers, Art Laffer among them, who say they do add up. There are many others who say they don’t add up, Herman. You have heard all that criticism.
I guess what I’m trying to get from you is, the sales tax is something that sticks in people’s craw. Would you ever consider just making it’s a 99 plan, that you’re facing so much heat on the 9 percent sales tax thing, that they’re ignoring the 9 percent corporate tax thing, the 9 percent income tax thing?
CAIN: The answer is no, Neil, for the following reason.
When we went through the logic of putting this together, we knew that in order to raise the same amount of revenue from five sources, we had to expand the base. Bringing in the sales tax expands the base. Secondly, by expanding the base, that’s why we ended up with a rate as low as 9 percent.
CAVUTO: Well, you know, what you’re saying, Herman...
CAVUTO: No, no, it makes sense. I’m just telling you that they have said that’s how the value added tax started in France. I think it was 5 percent.
CAIN: Right. Right.