Las Vegas Republican Debate Gets Heated; Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan Under Fire for Proposing Unwanted Sales Tax in NH

Posted by Jake Safane

In true Wild West fashion, the Republican candidates came out guns blazin’ at the Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Hosted on CNN and moderated by anchor Anderson Cooper, the candidates attacked one another throughout the evening, with dramatic exchanges that escalated into near-shouting matches.

The debate began with former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain on the hot seat with his “9-9-9” plan, which offers a 9% corporate tax, a 9% income tax, and a 9% national sales tax. The plan has helped surge Cain to the tops of the polls, but the other candidates were quick to say that the plan would raise taxes on low- and middle-income earners.

“It’s a regressive tax,” said Texas Congressman Ron Paul.

Cain defended his stance that taxes would not increase, urging voters to look at his plan to see for themselves how their taxes would change.

Courtesy of the Associated Press

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney confronted Cain on the 9% sales tax, making Cain clarify that state taxes would not change. As Texas Governor Rick Perry pointed out, this means that residents of New Hampshire would pay a 9% sales tax even though there currently is no state sales tax, and as Romney noted, Nevada would pay a 9% tax in addition to the state 8% rate. While Cain’s plan became clearer on the sales tax issue, he sidestepped saying that citizens would pay more sales tax; instead he said that comparing his federal tax plan to state taxes is lumping together “apples and oranges.”

After discussing Cain’s proposed tax reform, the candidates turned up the heat. Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum found significantly more speaking time in this debate, and he challenged Romney on healthcare. Santorum claimed that Romney has no credibility on repealing President Obama’s healthcare plan because the healthcare legislation Romney oversaw in Massachusetts was used as a model for the national plan (and  because Romney changed a line in his book to soften his support of the model).

Other candidates, such as Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, criticized Romney’s healthcare reform as an example of big government, while Romney shot back that he got the idea of an individual mandate from Gingrich.

The attacks on Romney turned sharper as the debate transitioned to the topic of immigration. Perry accused Romney of hiring illegal immigrants to work on his property, which Perry said was “the height of hypocrisy.”

Courtesy of the Associated Press

At this point, the two began talking over one another quite loudly with neither side giving in and Romney turning red as he appeared to grow frustrated by Perry’s antics.

Once the banter settled down, Romney said, “It’s been a tough couple of debates for Rick, and I understand, so you’re going to get testy,” which was one of the most personal attacks of any debate this year.

Topics shifted more frequently throughout the rest of the debate. One question from the audience asked whether or not we should give foreign aid to other countries. All of the candidates basically agreed that aid should be cut at least somewhat, but they differed on the specifics. While Paul wants to cut all aid, Perry wants to defund the United Nations. Congresswoman Michelle Bachman criticized President Obama’s foreign policy decisions, indicating that the President should not have used military intervention in Libya. Then. in a geographical gaffe, Bachman stated that the President has already put us in Libya and is “now putting us in Africa,” in reference to the troops sent to Uganda (Libya, of course, is in Africa).

The debate concluded with the candidates claiming why they are best-suited to defeat President Obama. The jabs kept coming as Santorum said he has a proven record of beating Democrats in elections in the swing state of Pennsylvania while running as a true conservative; whereas Romney ran as a moderate and Perry was first elected as a Democrat.

But as Gingrich noted, bickering amongst Republicans only hurts the eventual nominee’s chances in the general election.

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman chose not to participate in the debate in protest of Nevada’s possible impediment on New Hampshire’s primary voting date. The next Republican debate is scheduled for November 9 in Rochester, Michigan.


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Posted by Jake Safane on Oct 19 2011. Filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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