A day after opponents assailed his controversial "999" tax plan during the latest GOP debate, Herman Cain was hardly backing down from his core convictions. And, as usual, the former pizza-chain CEO offered up plenty of entertainment to go along with his policy ideas.
At the Western Republican Leadership Conference on Wednesday, Cain continued to tout his "999" initiative, telling the audience that while his plan will throw out the current tax code, his opponents want to build on what's already in place. He responded to criticism that the plan would further marginalize poor people, telling the crowd, "We're not going to throw the people at the poverty level under the bus."
Cain said his opponents, including former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, were too focused on what kind of plan could pass Congress. He said he wasn't worried about Congress. That's the "difference between a politician and a problem-solver," Cain said.
During his speech, Cain also weighed in on other hot-button issues with some soundbite-ready remarks. On guns: "I like my guns and Bible. Ain't gonna give 'em up!" On China: "My strategy for China is three words: Outgrow China." On American intelligence: "Stupid people are ruining America. But the good news is we can outvote them." (He expressed an identical sentiment in February.)
Later Wednesday, Cain appeared on "Piers Morgan Tonight" for an hourlong interview that touched on everything from Cain's rivals to his frightening experience with stage 4 cancer.
When asked whom among the other GOP candidates he had the most respect for, Cain named Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney; when asked whom he respected the least, Cain responded, "I don't believe Rep. Ron Paul would be a good president because most of his ideas are eliminate -- end -- rather than fix."
Cain continued to take an unusual stand on abortion, telling Morgan that while he thinks life begins at conception, it's not the government's role, or anybody else’s role, to make that decision."
Morgan and Cain also had a spirited exchange about homosexuality in which Cain said, "I think it's a sin because of my biblical beliefs," and said he believed sexual orientation is a choice. Incredulous, Morgan asked, "You genuinely believe millions of Americans wake up in their late teens, normally, and go, 'You know what? I quite fancy being a homosexual?' You don't believe that, do you?"
"Piers," Cain responded, "you haven't given me any evidence to consider otherwise."