Concord, New Hampshire - With five Republican presidential candidates addressing members of the New Hampshire state legislature in the state capitol today, Herman Cain was the only one to fire up crowd. The former Godfather's Pizza executive gave a fiery speech drawing several standing ovations in defending his "9-9-9 plan," which would replace the tax code with a flat nine percent tax on businesses, personal incomes, and sales across the nation.
It was the center of attention and scrutiny at Tuesday night's GOP debate on the economy, with his Republican rivals slamming the proposal as unrealistic and overly simple. "Senator Santorum challenged me last night saying my 9-9-9 plan will never pass. I don't propose what I can pass, I propose what solves the problem and that is what we need to do in this country," Cain said. "You know you must be doing something right when you get a lot of arrows at your back, but this is the first time that arrows have felt really, really good."
Cain has surged up to second place in the GOP race both in national and early state polls behind front runner Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts governor has strong support in neighboring New Hampshire, but today, Cain tried to chip some of that support away. "I know that many of you support him, but those of you who do not support him, I'm asking for your support. And for those of you who do support him, I'm asking you to reconsider," Cain said.
Cain is now vowing to beef up his staff in New Hampshire, and bring his campaign bus to the Granite State in the next few weeks. Former Governor Gary Johnson, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, and Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann also spoke to state lawmakers in Concord today.