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Fox News "Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace" - Transcript

Interview

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CHRIS WALLACE, ANCHOR: I'm Chris Wallace.

The presidential campaign's new "it" candidate surges toward the top of the Republican field.

An early straw poll test yields a shocking upset. Now, many are beginning to wonder: is he for real?

We'll ask the man of the moment, presidential contender Herman Cain.

Then, American business begins to sour on President Obama's economic policies. We'll discuss the state of the economy with two leaders of the private sector. The chairman of Federal Express, Fred Smith, the founder of Black Entertainment Television, Robert Johnson.

Plus, a key terrorist leader is killed. We'll ask our Sunday panel what Anwar al-Awlaki's death means for the war on terror. And our power player of the week, now what you'd expect of a football coach on or off the field.

All right now on "Fox News Sunday."

And hello again from Fox News in Washington.

It was big news this week in the Republican presidential race and no, it wasn't whether Chris Christie is joining the field. A political long shot parlayed a strong performance in the Fox debate and Florida straw poll to jump in the top tier.

We continue our series of 2012 one-on-one interviews now with businessman Herman Cain.

HERMAN CAIN, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thanks, Chris. My pleasure.

WALLACE: Let's start with the latest polls which show your remarkable surge. Let's put them up on the screen. In the Fox poll in late August, Perry and Romney were in the top 20s. You were all the way back at 6 percent. Now, you are top tier, along with the two of them, inside the margin error, and look to Florida where you're now running a strong second to Mitt Romney well ahead of Rick Perry.

Mr. Cain, what's going on?

CAIN: Yes.

Well, two things, first of all, it shows that the voice of the people is much more powerful than the voice in the media. As you know, some of the media outlets have been trying to make the Republican contest, a contest between two people, two governors. The people said something differently.

But the second main thing that came out of that -- message is more powerful than money. They spent a lot of money trying to influence that straw poll vote. We rented a bus, went around the state of Florida, had some rallies, met with people and it's resonating. The other thing I did, I started speaking in Florida, at Lincoln Day dinner and other events, last fall, I didn't just show up the week of the debate.

WALLACE: All right. You say message is more important than money and money is still important. I don't have to tell you as a businessman. It's vital in campaign and organization and ads, things like that.

Your campaign says that in the last couple of weeks, as you begun to surge, you are taking in several hundred thousand a day. And in the second quarter, the previous quarter, you took in $2.1 million.

CAIN: Right.

WALLACE: The third quarter ended on Friday, what's your number going to be?

CAIN: The number is going to be more than the number that we turned in before. We don't know how much yet because they're still doing the calculation. But you are right, our fundraising has picked up substantially as a result of what happened in Florida because I think it sent a message that I am a viable candidate.

And the other thing that made this more significant is that the people who were voting in the straw poll were delegates. Which means that they are much more informed, much more critical about who they are going to vote for. This is why I believe a lot of people interpreted as we did, and that is there's really some substance here in this particular candidacy.

WALLACE: But you say more than $2.1. Three million, $4 million?

CAIN: I don't have a number for you. But it will be north of $2 million.

WALLACE: OK. Besides you, the other big story in the GOP race right now, as I mentioned at the top, is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. He supports -- because people are looking at his record over the years -- he has supported a ban on assault weapons and supported civil unions for same-sex couples. He says being in this country without documentation is not a crime and that global warming is real and it's manmade.

Question: Is he too liberal to be Republican nominee for president?

CAIN: Yes, I believe that a lot of conservatives, once they know his positions on those things that you delineated, they're not going to be able to support him. So, I think that is absolutely a liability for him if he gets in the race.

WALLACE: Why do you think that they won't be able to support him?

CAIN: Because, you know, most of the conservatives believe that we should enforce our borders. They do not believe people should be here with documentation. They do not believe global warming is a crisis or a threat. Yes, it might be a little bit out there, but don't they see it as a crisis or a threat.

And as you go down the line, he's going to turn off a lot of conservatives with those positions.

WALLACE: I want to ask you, there is a troubling story on the front page of "The Washington Post" today about Rick Perry, governor of Texas, and it indicates that for years, his family had a hunting camp in west Texas and the name of it written on a stone was N-head. But, obviously, it wasn't just N-head.

CAIN: Right.

WALLACE: And he was part of that camp even as governor.

Your reaction, sir?

CAIN: My reaction is, that's just very insensitive. That is on a much -- that is in a more vile negative word than the N-word and for him to leave it there as long as he did, before I hear that they finally painted it over is just plain insensitive to a lot of black people in this country.

WALLACE: You know what? Let's talk about 999.

CAIN: Yes, I light up then.

WALLACE: Yes, I know you do 990 which is your idea. And let's face it, your rise in the polls at the same time that you come out with the specific plan, 999 -- 9 percent flat corporate tax, 9 percent flat income tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax.

CAIN: Yes.

WALLACE: As more is becoming known about it, there are more questions.

CAIN: Right.

WALLACE: Let's dig in.

The Christian Science Monitor did an analysis of what various income groups would pay. Someone making $20,000 a year, who now pays 13 percent tax rate would pay 17 percent. Someone making $55,000 go from 17 to 18 percent. Someone making $300,000 would go from 28 percent to 16 percent.

This is the analysis of the Christian Science Monitor, Mr. Cain, that the poor and middle class pay more. The rich pay a lot less.

CAIN: OK. I don't know the assumption of that they used. Let me walk you through my analysis with my assumptions. Let's take the $50,000, which is a median income. At $50,000, you have to into account the payroll tax. The total taxes paid by somebody at $50,000, if you assume standard deductions and you can take the number of exemptions for a family of four. They're going to pay approximately $10,000.

Now, 9 percent of $50,000 is $4,500. You already have a $5,500 gap right there. Now, if they then pay 9 percent on the sales tax of everything they have left, they would still have $2,000 left over.

So, I don't know the assumptions that they used for those numbers.

WALLACE: Look, almost everybody would say the income tax is the most progressive tax at this point because it taxes people who make less at a lower rate than people who make more. The sales tax is the most regressive tax because the richest person in the world buys $1 donut. He's going to pay the same amount as the poorest person in the world.

Necessarily, if you flatten the most progressive tax and introduce the most regressive, isn't that going to work to the benefit of the rich and detriment to the poor?

CAIN: No. No, because you're still basing it all on some assumptions.

Look, bottom line at $50,000 a year, that family is going to be $2,000 ahead. So, they come out way ahead. That's assuming that they spend every dime that they have left over.

The objective was grow the base and make the tax code fairer for everybody. It levels the playing field. It gets rid of all the loopholes. But the most interesting is, it gets the government out of the business of trying to pick winners and losers and trying to decide what's regressive and what's not regressive.

WALLACE: The other big criticism is that, as opposed to some other people who would repeal the income tax, you are keeping the income tax at a lower rate, but you're introducing a new federal tax, a national sales tax.

CAIN: Yes.

WALLACE: What? How do you guarantee -- I asked you this in the debate and I'm not sure I got a full answer, how do you guarantee that 9-9-9 down the line doesn't become 12-12-12?

CAIN: In the legislation that I'm going to ask Congress to send me, I want a two-thirds vote required by the Senate in order for them to change it. That will impede cavalierly raising it.

Secondly, the fact that the tax rate 9-9-9 is so visible, the American public is going to hold their feet to the fire and two-thirds majority in the Senate will be one of the ways to try to make sure that they don't raise it. And here's the other fact. As president, I am going to be working to bring down the debt. So, we're not going to have that tendency to continue to raise it because spending is out of control the way it is now. We will get spending under control at the same time that we grow this economy.

WALLACE: You said the other day that you believe that if you run against Barack Obama, you could get one-third of the African-American vote, but most of the other two-thirds is -- your words -- "brainwashed."

Everyone from Jesse Jackson, Jr. on the left, to Michael Steele, the former chairman of the Republican Party, says that is insulting and demeaning to African-Americans.

CAIN: First of all, I believe I'm going to get a third because a third of the black people in this country at least are thinking for themselves.

Now, the fact that they say that that word is insensitive, that's not as insensitive as the president of the United States standing in front of a major black audience, the Congressional Black Caucus, and scolding them because his policies have failed the country, his policies have failed black people. That's more insensitive -- that's more insulting to me than me using a term brainwashed. It's their only weapon, Chris, to try to silence me because I'm a conservative. It's simply not going to work.

WALLACE: But couldn't it be that African-Americans haven't been brainwashed, they have made up their mind clear-headed as you made up your mind about what is best for the country and what's best for them?

CAIN: Anecdotally, I run into people all the time and I share my 9-9-9 plan with them. Some black people that I run into -- not all, we keep our own little informal poll -- they won't even take my little 9-9-9 brochure because I'm that conservative, I'm that Republican.

I call that being brainwashed. How can they make up their mind against something when they don't know what it is?

So, this is why I'm saying -- some of them have been brainwashed not to even consider an alternative point of view if the person is running as a Republican or if they're supposed to be a conservative. Not all, but some.

WALLACE: The Republican Party did not have a single black member in Congress from 2002 to 2010. Now, there are two black members in Congress, Republicans, and 42 Democrats.

How do you respond to those who question -- question -- whether the Republican Party would ever nominate an Africa-American for president?

CAIN: My response would be, history is not a predictor of the future. Secondly, the mood of the country, and the citizens movement, they are rewriting the laws to the political landscape. If it were not for the citizen's Tea Party movement, if it were not for the power of the Internet, I wouldn't be in the race making the moves I am making right now. That's the difference.

It goes back to something I said earlier, the force of the people, they are not looking at history and what the Republican Party's reputation might have been. They are now looking at this guy, Herman Cain, is putting real solutions on the table and this is what the people are starved for.

WALLACE: Finally, you were on Jay Leno Friday night and you were asked to your quick impression of some of your rivals in the Republican field. And I just want to ask you also quickly but explain a couple of them. So, let's go through it.

Ron Paul --

CAIN: Now, I will say it --

WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. Let me -- I say it, then you can explain it. Ron Paul -- grumpy old man?

CAIN: I told Jay, as I'm telling you, I knew it was going to get me in trouble. This is how he comes across to a lot of people. This is what I've heard. So, I was basically playing back the comments that I have, grumpy old man because everything is in this, in that, in this, in that. You have to fix stuff. Not in everything.

WALLACE: Rick Santorum. Stressed.

CAIN: Stressed. If you look at his face during the debates, most of the time, he has a stressful look on his face. That was my word. I like Rick Santorum. He and I get along great, but his personality is one that looks and appears to be more stressed than, say, my personality which is more relaxed.

WALLACE: Mitt Romney?

CAIN: Good hair.

(LAUGHTER)

WALLACE: Really? That's the first thing you can say about him?

CAIN: Well, the serious thing is -- the differences between Mitt Romney claiming to try to be the businessman in the race, is that his business appearance has been Wall Street. My business experience has been Main Street.

I knew what a pizza looked like before it was kicked and served. I've got my hands dirty working on Main Street and work in business rather than just on Wall Street.

WALLACE: Now, finally, as you were walking in here today, I was kidding around with you and I started, "Hail to the chief" and you said to me, if I become president, I think you said, when I become president, we're going to have a much hipper song.

What's the problem with "Hail to the Chief"?

CAIN: Well, it's traditional and that's well and good. But I happen to believe that there comes a time when you need to change the mood just a little bit. Not drastically, but change it just a little bit.

It's kind of like in marketing. Periodically, companies that have been successful at branding, they might modify their logo just a little bit to give it a fresher look. I think "Hail to the Chief' needs a little bit fresher sound.

WALLACE: So, hip-hop?

CAIN: It won't be hip hop. I might put gospel beat to the "Hail to the Chief."

WALLACE: OK. Mr. Cain, I want to thank you. And I want to say I -- it wasn't planned, but I love the fact you come on our show. I ask you tough questions, and you answer them with grace and good humor. I wish that all of the other candidates acted the way you did, sir.

CAIN: Well, thank you. I take that as a compliment.

And, you know, the American people, I believe, appreciate my attitude toward -- answer the tough questions and be honest about how you feel. That resonates with the people.

WALLACE: All right. And we also want to note that you have a new book out.

CAIN: Yes.

WALLACE: Let's put it out on the screen.

CAIN: This Tuesday.

WALLACE: "This is Herman Cain: My Journey to the White House. Mr. Cain, good luck for that and we'll see you on the campaign trail, sir.

CAIN: A pleasure. Thank you.

WALLACE: It's a pleasure to see you. Thank you.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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