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CNN "American Morning" - Transcript


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COSTELLO: Yes, they did. Thanks to you, Jim Acosta. Herman Cain may be feeling a bit upstaged this morning after the Mitt Romney, Rick Perry slugfest stole the spotlight at last night's debate. Afterwards I sat down with Cain to talk more about the attacks against his 9-9-9 tax plan and how he would fix the home foreclosure crisis in America and whether he'd consider becoming vice president if he fails to win the nomination. Here's my conversation with candidate Cain.


COSTELLO: So everybody expects you to be the target of every attack tonight, and you were for about what, 10 minutes?

CAIN: I was.

COSTELLO: How do you feel?

CAIN: I feel like -- it's quite an honor to be beat up on, when you have a good idea, and you have a plan, and they really don't have a good plan. They've spent more time talking about what's wrong with my plan than they did talking about their plan. That suggests they don't have a real convincing plan.

COSTELLO: But when a non-partisan tax group says your plan will raise taxes for 94 percent of Americans, and you say, well, they're just wrong, some people might say it doesn't compute.

CAIN: Well, here's how I know they didn't even read our analysis. We have a provision in there, what we call head room, in that nine-nine- nine, for people that are on earned income tax credits, for cities we'll declare has opportunity zones. We have head room in there, several trillion dollars, by the way.

You see, if they had read the entire plan and read through our analysis they would have discovered that rather than saying it's going to raise taxes or not generate enough revenue. That's simply not the case. I'm going to throw it back to them in the future. Show me your analysis that proves that my plan won't work.

COSTELLO: So in the next debate, you're going on the attack?

CAIN: I'm going on the attack.

COSTELLO: You're ready to do that.

CAIN: Yes, I am.

COSTELLO: Really, you've been the nice guy through all this.

CAIN: Yes.

COSTELLO: The likable guy.

CAIN: I've been trying. But they're getting on my last nerve.

(LAUGHTER) COSTELLO: Can we talk about -- there was a person who stood up and asked about the foreclosure crisis.

CAIN: Yes.

COSTELLO: And none of you seemed to really give an answer to that. I mean, if I'm in a home and I'm being foreclosed on and I have a job, how would you help me?

CAIN: The way I would help you is to get government off the backs of the banks. That's one of the reasons we have the problems. Many of the banks can't do some of the things that they would want to do to help folks.


CAIN: Like restrictions of FDIC in terms of what kind of portfolio they must have and this sort of thing. So what I'm saying is a lot of the problem has to do with regulations or the threat of new regulations coming out of Washington, D.C.

COSTELLO: But most people say when they're in trouble with their mortgage, that their bank refuses to even talk to them.

CAIN: Well --

COSTELLO: Should a bank negotiate with someone?

CAIN: Yes. A bank should negotiate.

COSTELLO: Does the government have a role in, perhaps, forcing that bank in some way to sit down and negotiate with homeowners?

CAIN: I know people don't like this, but no, because then you distort the free market system.

I would encourage -- here's how you encourage banks -- remove the barriers that are keeping them from doing business the way they would want to. Most bankers would want to renegotiate with people on their mortgage, but I'm telling you that there are restrictions that are more government-driven that's keeping them -- I've had banks tell me this. They didn't give me a list of the things that could be done. They want to help people. They really do. But it's a threat of government regulation, the threat of the Dodd-Frank bill and rolling that out --

COSTELLO: Because they're being threatened with more government regulations is one of the reasons they're not sitting downed and negotiating with people?

CAIN: Yes.


CAIN: Because they have maintained their portfolio at a certain level or they get shut down by the FDIC. The number of banks shut down in the last year beat the number that was shut down the year before. Why? Because of FDIC rules some of them are so scared that they're going to step outside of a rule and be shut down that they just don't get as creative as they could get.

COSTELLO: Would you consider being someone's vice president?

CAIN: I'm in it to win it. I'm in it to win it in terms of becoming president of the United States of America.

COSTELLO: So somewhere down the line, if Mitt Romney came to you and said, I think we'd be a great team.

CAIN: It would depend upon who it is, and it would depend upon the understanding that we could reach about how they saw my role. I'm not saying no, but it's not an automatic yes.

COSTELLO: Thank you so much. I so appreciate it. Thank you.

CAIN: A pleasure. Thank you so much.


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