Flashback: Newt no fan of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says he’ll give Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax reform plan a fresh look now that the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has endorsed his campaign for president.

But three months ago, when Cain was in the GOP presidential race, Gingrich made clear that he wasn’t a fan of the proposal that calls for a 9 percent income tax, 9 percent corporate tax and 9 percent national sales tax.

“As people look at 9-9-9 and disaggregate it, it gets to be a lot harder sale, I think,” Gingrich told CNN’s Candy Crowley on October 16.

Cain dropped out of the presidential race in December. But he enjoyed a brief stint as front-runner in large part due to the interest surrounding his simple tax reform plan that threw out the current tax structure.

At the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate on Oct. 18, Gingrich made it clear he had problems with 9-9-9.

“If you take his plan — and I think it’s in the interest of the whole country to have serious people take his plan and go through it step by step — there are much more complexities than Herman lets on,” he said.

Gingrich also suggested that he thinks something like 9-9-9 would take too long to get implemented. (RELATED: Full coverage of the 2012 election)

“Get something you can do very fast. Change on this scale takes years to think through if you’re going to do it right,” he said.

And on Sean Hannity’s radio show on Oct. 25, he explained why voters in the early caucus and primary states wouldn’t get behind it.

“There is no sales tax in New Hampshire,” he said. “So a 9 percent federal sales tax just sounds very threatening. When I’m in Iowa talking to senior citizens, they don’t want a 9 percent sales tax on their pensions, or their Social Security or their savings.”

“So Herman’s got to figure out what’s he going to do with all of this,” he said.

Fast-forward to this week, and Gingrich told ABC News that 9-9-9 is “certainly one of things that will be on the table.”

Yet the candidate seemed to suggest it’s unlikely he’d completely adopt the proposal, saying he already has “a pretty comprehensive tax plan.”

But Cain told ABC’s Jonathan Karl on Monday that he believes Gingrich will seriously consider adopting his 9-9-9 plan into his campaign platform.

“9-9-9 will be a major consideration,” Cain said. “That is why he asked me to co-chair his jobs, work and tax advisory council.”

Since endorsing Gingrich on Saturday, Cain has been stumping for the candidate across Florida ahead of Tuesday’s primary.

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