Tales from the Trail

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.

9-9-9 has nothing to do with pizza, even though Cain is best known on the campaign trail as the former CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain.

It’s a tax proposal Cain is promoting as his remedy for what’s ailing the U.S. economy. It would replace the current tax code with a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

Perry video batters Romney with healthcare

In his latest campaign video, Texas Governor Rick Perry takes direct aim at Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney over healthcare.

The video casts the former Massachusetts governor as a mirror image of President Barack Obama when it comes to the federal healthcare overhaul, which conservatives deride as “Obamacare.”

Obamacare morphs into “Romneycare” in the video, which links the Republican frontrunner to the Democratic president’s plan.

Some ‘Occupy DC’ protestors not happy with Obama either

By Lily Kuo

Protestors in the Washington arm of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement have another message for the 1 percent: Listen up, President Obama.

Several Republican presidential candidates have criticized the movement as anti-American, divisive, and “in search of scapegoats.” But many members of what has become known as Occupy DC are not warming up to the Democratic president either, a fact that could frustrate what analysts say are Obama’s hopes to co-opt a burgeoning movement representing average Americans.

“[Obama and Biden] may be making a bet that this thing will get real traction among the middle class and young people, who have largely checked out of politics,” said Paul Light, a political science professor at New York University.

Another reason baseball is America’s game?

A speaker at the influential Values Voters Summit had a theory about why there has not been a major attack on U.S. soil by Islamic extremists since Sept. 11, 2001. And it isn’t just the hard work of U.S. intelligence agencies or the efforts of the thousands of U.S. forces who have risked their lives for 10 years.

According to Bryan Fischer, a director of the evangelical Christian American Families Association,  baseball can take at least some of the credit.

Fischer told an audience at the meeting that he believes there has not been another such major attack on the United States for a decade because Major League Baseball started singing “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch break during games instead of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” after 9/11.

Palin’s 2012 plan: help others defeat Obama

“I apologize to those whom are disappointed in this decision…  But I believe that they, when they take a step back, will understand why the decision was made and understand that really you don’t need a title to make a difference in this country,”  Sarah Palin said on Fox New after closing the door to a 2012 presidential campaign.

The former Alaska governor, and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, ended months and months of speculation on Wednesday by announcing her decision not to throw her hat into the ring.

While she isn’t hitting the trail as a White House candidate, Palin clearly intends to remain a player on the political stage.

Hey, wavering Republicans – file by Halloween, or turn into a pumpkin

A January 31 Florida primary would offer a big treat for anyone tired of the ‘will she/won’t he’ speculation about possible new entries to the Republican presidential field — a hard deadline, on Halloween.

Florida officials say the state is expected to move up its primary to the January date, which means that candidates have until Oct. 31 — Halloween — to file paperwork to get their names on the ballot in the vote-rich state.

Florida is the fourth-most populous state, with more than 18 million people, and it is by far the largest of the “swing states” not strongly aligned with either political party, where U.S. elections are typically decided.

Team Bachmann lays out “Path to Victory”

From victory in the Iowa straw poll to lesser rival in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Michele Bachmann may be down but don’t count her out.

The Minnesota Representative is right on track on her “Path to Victory” that began with her win in Iowa, Team Bachmann Campaign Manager Keith Nahigian says in a video outlining the campaign strategy.

From Iowa, the campaign’s path to the nomination winds through New Hampshire and South Carolina, the crucial early states in the presidential primary races.

Perry still leads Republican pack – CNN/ORC poll

Rick Perry is still the front-runner in the field of 2012 Republican presidential hopefuls, according to a new CNN/ORC International Poll released on Monday.

The Texas governor’s latest debate performance — rated shaky by some political analysts — apparently did not disappoint actual potential voters who support him.

Perry leads his nearest opponent, Mitt Romney 28 percent to 21 percent among Republican voters, according to the poll taken over the weekend — after last Thursday’s Republican debate in Orlando, Florida.

Ron Paul vs. the “pretty boys” – Corrected

The race for the 2012 presidential nomination comes down to this: Ron Paul against the “pretty boys” — at least that’s what some of the most ardent supporters of the Texas congressman think.

The political action committee Revolution Pac , dedicated to Paul’s candidacy, compares their man to “media darlings” Mitt Romney (“this pretty boy”) and Texas Governor Rick Perry (“that pretty boy”) in a new ad branding the congressman  “a  statesman not a plastic man.”

“Wait a minute, can’t we do better?” the announcer asks, referring to Paul’s more popular opponents (who appear in animation) in the polls.

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”…