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Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Taxes

Herman Cain: 'I'm the president of the United States of America!'


Herman Cain is currently on a roll, following his strong debate performance in Orlando on Sept. 22 with a decisive win last Saturday in the Florida GOP straw poll.

Once considered a second-tier candidate and kind of an afterthought, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO is leapfrogging over half the field to find himself within spitting distance of top-tier status.

So, what's an up-and-coming candidate to do? Release a book, of course. And if you're running for president, you might as well imagine yourself as already being there.

As quoted in an extensive piece at, Cain writes in "This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House":

“Well, I’m just about at the elevator up to the family quarters. But bear with me for just a minute more as I confirm who I am. It’s obvious; I’m the president of the United States of America!"

The memoir, due out next week from Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, takes Cain from his childhood in Georgia through his career and his battle with Stage Four cancer to his hoped-for triumphant arrival in Washington, D.C., and imagined first term in office.

It's not rare for a candidate to have a book. In fact, Michele Bachmann has her own book coming out in November. But most -- like Perry's and Romney's -- deal with policy positions and political philosophy. Cain takes it a step further by, according to Politico, even discussing the first lady plans of his wife of 43 years, Gloria.

Cain also takes on the assertion that he is not knowledgeable about foreign policy, a charge that could also be leveled at his fellow candidates, former governors Rick Perry and Mitt Romney (and, for that matter, at former presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter -- governors all, plus Obama).

This particular issue stuck in the craw of Fox News Channel host Bill O'Reilly, who challenged recently announced Cain supporter Dennis Miller on Wednesday's "The O'Reilly Factor."

"I like Herman Cain," said O'Reilly. "I like his spirit. I think he presents himself very well. But when he came on 'The Factor' a few weeks ago, he had no clue about foreign affairs. None.'"

Miller responded with a reference to President Obama, saying: "Oh, like the guy in there now does?"

O'Reilly countered with: "Aren't we supposed to improve upon that?"

Take a look at the whole exchange:

Cain also caused some controversy elsewhere on Wednesday, while talking to anchor Wolf Blitzer on CNN's "The Situation Room" (click here for the full transcript).

First, Cain addressed the issue of why most African Americans won't vote Republican, saying: "Because many African Americans have been brainwashed into not being open-minded, not even considering a conservative point of view. I have received some of that same vitriol simply because I am running for the Republican nomination as a conservative."

Cain also said he believes a third to 50% of black Americans are "open-minded," saying: "More and more black Americans are thinking for themselves. And that's a good thing."

It's a position Cain also discussed during a Monday appearance on Fox News Channel's "On the Record With Greta Van Susteren," saying:

"And because the unemployment rate for black people is nearly 17%, instead of the 9%, they're looking for something that's going to boost this economy. And they see that possibility in my 9-9-9 plan.

"That's what's going to peel off the black vote: results, not rhetoric."

(Click here for the full transcript and video.)

Also addressed during the CNN interview was the issue of Perry's support, along with the Texas legislature, for giving in-state tuition discounts to children of illegal immigrants.

This policy got the Texas governor in some hot water in the last GOP debate -- in which he characterized those who disagreed with him as "heartless" -- and earned him a rebuke from his fellow Republican, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, during his speech at the Reagan Library on Tuesday.

In opposing Perry's use of taxpayer funds to subsidize the lower tuition rates, Christie said: "Let me be very clear. From my perspective, that is not a heartless position. That is a common sense position."

Perry even had to do a bit of backpedaling on his "heartless" claim. He told Newsmax in an exclusive video interview posted on Wednesday, that, "I was probably a bit over-passionate by using that word, and it was inappropriate."

Asked on CNN if he agreed with Perry's position, Cain said: "No, absolutely not. Because I happen to believe that that puts children of illegals in front of citizens, in front of soldiers. I don't agree with that. We must first secure the border for real. That's the real problem we need to make sure that we solve. Then, decide later.

"Now, I do agree that it's a state's issue. It's a state's decision. But I don't believe in putting children of illegals, because of compassion, in front of citizens."

Cain also said that, as of right now, that position would prevent him from supporting Perry if he becomes the GOP's eventual nominee:

"Today, I could not support Rick Perry as the nominee for a host of reasons. Him being soft on securing the border is one of the reasons. I feel very strongly about the need to secure the border for real, the need to enforce the laws that are already there, the need to promote the path to citizenship that's already there.

"But, more importantly, empower the states to enforce the national federal immigration laws because the federal government didn't do it, can't do it, and they never will do it. So, that's where I think he and I have a basic fundamental difference of opinion."

Cain did say though, that while he does not support the individual mandate put in place by Mitt Romney in his Massachusetts healthcare bill, he could support Romney as the nominee so long as he vowed to repeal Obamacare.

A new Fox News phone poll is out, placing Cain in third place now with 17%, trailing Romney, who has 23%, and Perry, who has 19%.

(Click here for the full poll results.)

Cain is even making the apparently obligatory visit to New York City to talk with businessman and reality show star Donald Trump on Oct. 3, following the lead of fellow hopefuls Perry, Romney and Bachmann.


Herman Cain handily wins Florida GOP straw poll

Chris Christie won't run but doesn't mind being asked

GOP debate: Rick Perry vs. Mitt Romney, plus Gary Johnson and some dogs

-- Kate O'Hare

Photo: Herman Cain addresses Florida GOP activists in Orlando last Saturday. Credit: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Day No. 972: President Obama unveils a deficit reduction plan

Obama talks about the Deficit 9-19-11

"We didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced, long-term approach to deficit reduction. That was true last week. That was true last year. That was true the day I took office." --Barack Obama, Aug. 8, 2011.

Barack Obama took office Jan. 20, 2009. That was 972 days ago this morning, almost to the hour when he finally offered his newest full-blown deficit reduction plan. (See full Obama text below.)

Or as he put it, "Good morning, everybody. Please have a seat."

If it's Monday, the campaigning president must be issuing a new plan for something (before another $35,800 per ticket fundraiser in New York City). Last week it was his new Monday stimulus package, which was so urgent it's been delayed, as we discussed right here this morning.

Today, it was how to pay for his new stimulus package plus how to start reducing overspending and paying down the $14,000,000,000,000+ in debt that someone else is responsible for accumulating in recent years.

Here's the Washington Democrat's diagnosis:

During this past decade, profligate spending in Washington, tax cuts for multimillionaires and billionaires, the cost of two wars and the recession turned a record surplus into a yawning deficit, and that left us with a big pile of IOUs.

Everyone remembers his last deficit reduction plan in April. Back then he was determined "to shrink the deficit as a share of the economy, but not to do so so abruptly with spending cuts that would hamper growth or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet."

Which struck many as suspiciously like not much of a shovel-ready deficit reduction program.

Now that it's autumn, it will surprise only children that the Democrat wants to increase taxes because we aren't paying enough and need more to spend. He also details impressive, large-scale cuts that include $1 trillion that we don't have and he says we won't be spending on wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

According to this line of thinking, our spouse has been informed that we'll be buying a Lamborghini (red) with the cuts we've made in not buying a corporate jet.

"This plan cuts $2 in spending for every dollar in new revenues," the president proclaimed. Reforms to....

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Sunday shows: Cheney, Huntsman, DeMint, Trumka

ABC's "This Week" with Christiane Amanpour: Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) with Dana Loesch, Jon Karl, Clarence Page, Michael Gerson, Carol Lee, Jared Bernstein and Douglas Holtz-Eakinformer vice president Dick Cheney Book In My Time

Bloomberg's "Political Capital with Al Hunt:" AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

CBS' "Face the Nation" with Bob Schieffer: Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, a Republican, and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.)

CNN Fareed Zakaria "GPS": Frank Gehry, Heather Knight, Zanab Salbi, Sheryl WuDunn and husband Nicholas Kristof, and Platon

CNN's "State of the Union" with Candy Crowley: DeMint, James Hoffa of the Teamsters, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), Michael Duffy and Peter Baker

Fox News Channel "Fox News Sunday" with Chris Wallace: Dick Cheney with Ed Gillespie, Bill Kristol, Kirsten Powers and Mara Liasson

NBC's "Meet the Press" with David Gregory: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Paul Gigot, Mark McKinnon and Tom Friedman

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Gov. Jon Huntsman's jobs plan: 'Straightforward and common sense'

gov jon Huntsman Campaigning 6-11

If you collect job plans, this is your time.

On Wednesday Republican former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman jumped to the front of the line and issued his jobs plan. (See excerpts and full text below.)

Another former \governor, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, will soon be issuing his. And after some fumbled negotiations in public, House Speaker John Boehner and the Obama White House agreed last evening that 137 weeks into his administration, the president will speak to a joint session of Congress with his latest plan to create jobs.

If the past nearly 32 months are any indication, none of them will pass, work or matter. Unemployment, which was supposed to stay beneath 8% if we threw $787 billion in stimnulus money at it, is now 9.1%. Consumer confidence has tanked. Economic growth is virtually stagnant.

Except for jobs plan speechwriters. They are in huge demand. This morning we have here first some excerpts from Huntsman's speech Wednesday. After the excerpts we have the full text of his jobs plan remarks.

And we will be doing the same for the upcoming plans with cross-referencing links to each, so Ticket readers can compare. First, Huntsman:

We have an economic crisis in this country. The marketplace is crying out for predictability, competitiveness and signs of confidence. Above all, people need jobs.

There is no more urgent priority at this point in our nation’s history than creating jobs and strengthening our economic core; everything else revolves around it....

Washington has never suffered from a vacuum of ideas; it suffers from a vacuum of leadership. I’m not running for president to promise solutions. I’m running to deliver solutions....

Let me start by saying that debt is a cancer that if left untreated will destroy our economy from within....

One of the most indefensible examples is the National Labor Relations Board’s ongoing....

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Texas Supreme Court doesn't dance around naked dancing tax

Pole Dancing contest in Colombia 8-11Finally, the Texas Supreme Court has addressed a freedom of speech issue that's been vexing certain dimly-lit parts of of the Lone Star state.

Four years ago the Texas legislature levied a $5 pole tax on each entrance ticket to the state's nude dancing emporiums that also serve alcohol.

Who knew there were such places really?

The revenue was designated to finance sexual assault prevention programs and health care for the uninsured. Worthy causes worth supporting any way possible.

But the pole dance places sued, arguing the tax was an unfair burden on freedom of speech as expressed through clothing-less dancing by people of the female gender. Lower courts agreed.

We've been told by a friend who has a cousin whose brother accidentally wandered into such a place once that the establishment had awful lighting, loud music and no wi-fi. So he went straight home after a couple of hours.

He reported the audience was predominantly male and appeared to be consuming adult beverages after a hard day's work.

He said he also heard that women wearing scant clothing 'dance' on the stage while slowly removing said garments and doing imaginative things on and around a shiny pole.

Not unlike this nearby photo here of a contestant in a recent South American pole dancing contest, only without all the confining clothing.

So the pole tax issue finally reached the state's highest court, which heard oral arguments 17 months ago. As you might imagine, there are many exhibits and issues for judges to study and discuss enroute to American justice.

In a unanimous ruling the other day the Republican court said five bucks is too small a sum to be considered a burden on such free expression. And, it said, the state does hold a legitimate interest in curbing the secondary effects of potential violence stemming from alcohol and adult entertainment.

One justice suggested that nude dancing establishments could get around the pole tax by not serving alcohol. But he may have been drunk at the time.

The club industry is weighing its legal options, appeal or suing on other grounds.

Meanwhile, we did some math. Initial estimates said the pole tax would provide $44 million in its first two years. At $5 per customer, that's nearly nine million tickets to watch nude dancing, which means about one out of every three state residents patronized these establishments.

Since that is patently ridiculous for Texas, an alternative explanation is that 300 people attended such shows 30,000 times each. And they were most likely Oklahomans.


Eew! Moammar Kadafi (hearts) Condi Rice

Joe Biden visits China, ignites no war

Does Joe the Congressman sound better than Joe the Plumber?

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Raul Arboleda / AFP / Getty Images

Weekly remarks: GOP's Dean Heller sees regs killing jobs; Obama 9/11 should bring unity

Capitol Hill

Weekly remarks by Sen. Dean Heller, as provided by Republican Party leadership

Hi, I’m Senator Dean Heller from the great state of Nevada.   

Americans have had to endure great hardships over the past few years. This recession has robbed millions of people of their jobs, their homes and their sense of security.

No state has been hit harder than Nevada. My state has the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. There is no question that the status quo of dysfunctional government must end. People from all over the country are struggling just to get by and are desperate for real solutions.

Unfortunately, job creation and economic growth has taken a back seat to political posturing and grandstanding in Washington.

It is clear that the approach of this administration and its supporters have taken for economic recovery has failed miserably. 

Out of control spending, a healthcare law that no one can afford, and a seemingly endless....

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Does Joe the Congressman sound better than Joe the Plumber?

Of course, you remember Joe the Plumber.

He's that T-shirt-clad Everyman who lives on an Ohio cul-de-sac and forthrightly confronted a campaigning Barack Obama during the 2008 presidential contest about the Democrat's crippling small business tax policies. (See video above.)

Joe the Plumber Samuel Wurzelbacher, fileDuring the course of their taped street discussion, Joe's questions prompted Obama to utter the accidentally revealing words "spread the wealth," which set off socialist alarm bells that can still be heard in conservative quarters.

Republican candidate John McCain mentioned "Joe the Plumber" several times in an ensuing debate in New York and turned Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher into a passing political icon that changed the course of the worker's life.

Since then, Joe has been a globe-trotting correspondent for conservative publications, a celebrity speaker and "tea party" worker.

And now -- guess what? -- Toledo Republicans are touting him as the 2012 challenger to Democrat Marcy Kaptur, the longest-serving woman in Congress (14 terms).

Joe says, yup, he's thinking about it. 

The chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, Jon Stainbrook, cites “high-level interest in the national Republican Party” in a Wurzelbacher campaign.

With Joe's broad tea party ties, it could become one of those symbolic races that draws donors from across the country.

Of course, what really matters is voter interest in Ohio's Ninth.

Such a challenge would surely be suicidal in Kaptur's heavily Democratic district that hasn't seen a GOP representative since Ronald Reagan was fighting Jimmy Carter's recession.

Oh, but wait!

Ohio is losing a pair of House seats following last year's census. And Buckeye voters were so happy with Obama's first two years that they not only replaced Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland with former House member John Kasich, they turned the Legislature over to the GOP too.

As it turns out, those are the folks drawing the new districts. Maybe they'll help Joe out. And help Kaptur to join Lucas County's 10.5% unemployment lines.


The national debt is growing $3 million every single minute

Obama's bus tour theme: Washington (not him) really screwed up

Final debate's transcript: McCain vs Obama, Long Island, Oct. 15, 2008

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher. Credit: Madalyn Ruggiero / Associated Press

Gov. Rick Perry text: 'We cannot afford 4 more years of this'

Texas Republican governor Rick Perry takes the stage to announce his presidential candidacy RedState Gathering Charleston SC Andrew Malcolm  8-13-11

Gov. Rick Perry's candidacy statement at RedState Gathering, as provided by

Howdy. Thank you, Erick [Erickson, editor of RedState]. It is great to be at RedState. And I’ll
tell you what, it’s even better to be governor of the largest red state in America.

It’s sure good to be back in the Palmetto State, in South Carolina. I enjoy coming to places where
people elect folks like Nikki Haley, true conservatives. And also where they love the greatest
fighting force on the face of the earth…the United States Military.

And I want to take a moment and ask you to just take a silence, think about those young Navy
SEALs and the other special operators who gave it all in the service of their country. Just take a
moment to say 'Thank you, Lord, that we have those kind of selfless, sacrificial men and women.
Their sacrifice was immeasurable, their dedication profound, and we will never, ever forget

I stand before you today as the governor of Texas. But I also stand before you as the son of two tenant farmers, Ray Perry, who came home after 35 bombing missions over Europe to work his little corner of land out there, and Amelia who made sure my sister Milla and I had everything that we needed, including hand-sewing my clothes until I went off to college.

(The RedState Gathering scene story at the Perry announcement in Charleston, S.C.)

I am also the product of a place called Paint Creek. Doesn’t have a zip code. It’s too....

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Rick Perry joins the GOP fray: 'This is gonna be a fun ride!'

Rick Perry RedState 8-13-11

"This," Rick Perry told me as he took the stage to launch his presidential campaign, "is gonna be a fun ride!"

Then the three-term conservative governor of Texas was bounding onto the stage, saying, "Let's get this thing started." He told the RedState Gathering, an enthusiastic crowd of conservative writers, and a national TV audience:

It is time for Americans to believe again, to believe that the promise of our future is far greater than even the best days of our past. It is time to believe again in the potential of private enterprise, set free from the shackles of an overbearing federal government.

And it is time to truly restore our standing in the world and renew our faith in freedom as the best hope of peace in a world beset with strife.

The crowd stood, chanting, "Perry! Perry! Perry!"

"America is not broken," Perry exhorted, "Washington, D.C., is broken.”

Full text of Perry announcement is here.

They didn't need no schtinking straw vote in Charleston on Saturday afternoon. Perry becomes the ninth candidate seeking the Republican presidential nomination in Tampa next year.

Given his executive record of tax-cutting, his undefeated record as a statewide candidate in the nation's second-largest state, his fundraising prowess and the lingering thirst among many GOP members for a charismatic, true conservative, Perry immediately joins the top tier.Rick Perry campaign Logo

He immediately flew off to New Hampshire to Pamela Tucker's home for the kind of living room politics beloved in the Granite State, home of the first primary next winter.

On Sunday, Perry will speak at a Lincoln dinner in Waterloo, Iowa, before returning to New Hampshire next week.

"I will work every day," Perry told the Charleston crowd, "to make Washington, D.C., as inconsequential in your lives as I can, and free our families, small businesses and states from a burdensome and costly federal government, so they can create, innovate and succeed. With the help and courage of the American people, we will get our country working again."

The 61-year-old former Air Force pilot, lieutenant governor, state representative and agriculture commissioner said he comes from Paint Creek, Texas, a tiny town so small it doesn't even have a ZIP pcode. And speaking of Washington, he lit into President Obama for the recent unprecedented downgrade of the federal government's credit rating:

In reality, this is just the most recent downgrade. The fact is for nearly three years, President Obama has been downgrading American jobs, downgrading our standing in the world, downgrading our financial stability, downgrading confidence and downgrading the hope of a better future for our children.

The governor recited some of his state's legislative achievements, including balancing the budget with no new taxes and enacting 'loser-pays' lawsuit reforms. And, of course, jobs. Texas has created 40% of all new jobs in the United States in the past two years. Yet, Perry said:

"One in six work-eligible Americans cannot find a full-time job. That is not a recovery. That is an economic disaster."

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Andrew Malcolm / Los Angeles Times (Perry).

The Ames Republican debate transcript: Everything they said that you missed

Iowa Debate 8-11-11 Ames

In anticipation of today's Ames straw poll in Iowa, Fox News Channel and the Washington Examiner co-sponsored the first Republican candidate debate in the first delegate nominating state.

The debate, due to its sharp questioning, blunt answering and occasional outbursts, has sparked much online discussion in the last two days and may have played a crucial rule in deciding the outcome of today's straw poll.

As we reported here earlier, the two-hour program enjoyed excellent ratings, but still more than 300 million Americans didn't see it. Now, you and any who desire, can read the complete transcript here of all of the back-and-forth courtesy of the Fox News Channel.

There is no debate about the need for you to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Transcript of Republican Debate in Ames, Iowa, Aug. 11, as provided by Fox News Channel

BRET BAIER:  Welcome to Ames, Iowa, on the campus of Iowa State University and the Republican presidential debate. (APPLAUSE)

Our event is being sponsored by Fox News and the Washington Examiner, in conjunction -- in conjunction with the Iowa Republican Party. We're being seen, obviously, on Fox News Channel, being streamed on  You can log on and check out how you can react to our debate. We're also being heard on Fox News Radio. And these folks in the stadium -- in the studio are just fired up, as you can hear. (APPLAUSE)

BAIER:  OK.  Now let's meet the candidates: former Senator Rick Santorum; businessman Herman Cain; Congressman Ron Paul...(APPLAUSE) ... former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney...(APPLAUSE)   ... Congresswoman Michele Bachmann... (APPLAUSE) ... former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty...   (APPLAUSE)... former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman...(APPLAUSE) ... and former speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich. (APPLAUSE)

Joining me at the desk tonight, my Fox News colleague and anchor of "Fox News Sunday," Chris Wallace.And from the Washington Examiner, Byron York and Susan Ferrechio. 

We're gathered tonight at a very unsettling moment for Americans. We've watched the....

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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