GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain addresses the New Hampshire House… (Jim Cole / Associated Press )
Reporting from Concord, N.H. — The morning after Herman Cain took center stage during a debate at Dartmouth College, he got a chance to deliver his unfiltered message to members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives.
“You must be doing something right when you get arrows in your back,” Cain said on the House floor Wednesday, alluding to the criticism of his 9-9-9 economic plan. “This is the first time arrows have felt really, really good.”
While Mitt Romney has a huge lead in New Hampshire preference polls, Cain said he believed he had a good chance of cutting into the former Massachusetts governor's support because voters would be drawn by his plan to throw out the current tax code and replace it with a 9% sales tax, a 9% income tax and a 9% tax on corporations. Cain noted that his five-day book tour was over and that he would be campaigning full time as his staff put an organization together.
“We have run this very lean by design,” Cain, former chief executive of the Godfather's Pizza chain, said Wednesday afternoon at a historic home near the New Hampshire Capitol. "We are now going to ramp up and there are a lot of good people out there. We now have the money to do so,” Cain said, adding that he had resisted the temptation to get ahead of himself and overspend in recent months.
Because of Cain's rapid ascent in the polls, his aides appeared to be reeling from the sudden media attention. In a last-minute announcement Wednesday, the candidate's aides told reporters that Cain was launching a Tennessee bus tour beginning Friday morning that would travel from Memphis to Nashville.
Though Tennessee’s primary is not until March 2012, his aides said he had "a national strategy" and a lot of supporters in Tennessee and that made the state a good place to start. Cain is headed to Ohio for fundraising and other events Thursday. Aides were not sure which ones would be public.
Though he has a staff of only about 30, Cain said he would campaign heavily in New Hampshire as well as the other early primary states.