Tales from the Trail

Cain takes the lead in GOP race – poll

Businessman Herman Cain has pulled ahead of Mitt Romney and now leads the field of 2012 Republican candidates, according to a new New York Times/ CBS News poll.

Cain has 25 percent support among Republican primary voters,  compared with 21 percent support for the former Massachusetts governor.

The two candidates were tied at 17 percent in the previous NYT/CBS poll released on Oct. 3.

The new poll shows  Cain’s support among Tea Party conservatives climbed to 32 percent in mid-October — up  from 18 percent just a few weeks earlier.

Cain’s rise to the top of the polls  is powered by a non-traditional campaign (here’s the “smoking” Cain ad everyone’s talking about). But  he’s going to have to do more than that to do well in the early nominating contests in January, Reuters’ Patricia Zengerle reports.

Cain in the spotlight

The spotlight burns a lot brighter when you’re the one leading the field (or tied for the lead).

Just ask Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain.

The former Godfather’s Pizza CEO has been under increasing scrutiny since his rise to the top of the polls.

Analysts and pundits have been analyzing his “9-9-9″ tax plan and he’s gotten the “Saturday Night Live” treatment.

Cain’s ’9-9-9′ plan in focus at Republican debate

The buzz word was definitely “9-9-9″ in Tuesday’s Republican debate at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire that focused on economic issues.

During the debate, the catchphrase 9-9-9 was mentioned 25 times (including 16 times by the man who conceived it — Herman Cain).

“I think it’s a catchy phrase. In fact, I thought it was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it,” said Jon Huntsman, the former Utah governor and former ambassador to China.

Tea Party flavors Republican debate in Tampa

Maybe it was the Tea Party Express influence or maybe it was just being in Tampa where Republicans hold their presidential nominating convention next year.

But the atmosphere at Monday’s  Republican debate had the festive feel of a major sporting event and the stars of the game were the eight candidates vying for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

The pregame show began with a video introduction of “tonight’s players”…

2012 candidates woo voters on Labor Day

Labor Day is no day off for President Barack Obama and the Republicans who want his job. The holiday to pay tribute to American workers traditionally marks the start of the general election campaign. And although 15 months remain before the 2012 election, you’ll find the 2012 White House hopefuls on the road Monday hoping to score points with voters.

Democrat Obama travels to Detroit on Labor Day to talk about how to create jobs and strengthen the economy, the White House said. With U.S. unemployment steady at 9.1 percent, Reuters’ Jeff Mason writes  Obama’s on the spot to boost hiring and economic growth as he campaigns for a second term in the White House.

Obama also spoke in Detroit on Labor Day 2008 as his general election race heated up against Republican presidential rival Senator John McCain.

Republicans warm up in Iowa debate

Things got a little heated between Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty during the Republican debate in Ames, Iowa.

Early on in the two-hour debate, the former Minnesota governor tried to knock the Minnesota congresswoman down a peg, saying her record of accomplishment and results “is nonexistent.”

Bachmann took aim at his record as governor, blasting his support for a cap and trade environmental plan and individual mandates in healthcare. “That sounds more like Barack Obama if you ask me,” she said.

4 Republican hopefuls in New Hampshire find tepid Tea Party turnout

Four potential Republican presidential hopefuls showed up, but the turnout for the New Hampshire Tea Party tax day rally was rather tepid.

USA-CAMPAIGN/TEAPARTYOn a brilliant spring day in Concord, perfect for a rally, only about 300 came to protest taxes and the Obama Administration, a far cry from the robust rallies held ahead of the 2010 elections.

Tim Pawlenty and Rick Santorum — who have declared they are exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 — and Herman Cain and Buddy Roemer — who are considered potential hopefuls — joined state politicians in an attempt to get the crowd fired up.