Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain brought his College Truth Tour to Mitten Hall Friday, Oct. 19, to talk politics, the economy and Godfather’s Pizza with a crowd of approximately 200.
Advertised as a non-partisan event, the tour has stopped at 19 other campuses across the country, and gives the former pizza business CEO a platform to speak candidly to students about the challenges facing the nation and, more specifically, his 9-9-9 tax plan.
“A lot of people ask, ‘Why do you call it a Truth Tour?’ Well, the answer is very simple,” Cain said as he took the stage. “There are a lot of lies out there. And we want to make sure that you heard the truth about the American Dream, and the truth about your American Dream.”
Stressing values of hard work, flexibility and persistence, Cain used his own business background with Pillsbury and Godfather’s Pizza as testament to the value of determination. Cain also stressed how difficult the current economic downturn has made it for college graduates to secure jobs, and urged the crowd that change is needed.
“This economy is stagnant and if we don’t get this economy growing, you might end up running in to the same barrier that the graduates last spring ran into,” Cain said. “Fifty percent of college grads last spring can’t find jobs.”
To fix this economic problem, he said, complete restructuring of the tax code is necessary.
“You hear the word ‘reform’ the tax code. That hasn’t happened in decades. When you hear politicians say ‘reform’ tax code, that’s code for: ‘We’re not going to do anything different from what we’ve always done.’ We need to replace the tax code,” Cain said, leading in to his much-anticipated description of the 9-9-9 tax plan.
The tax plan, which received thunderous applause from the audience, was largely the foundation for Cain’s campaign, and would include a restructured tax plan of 9 percent personal income tax, 9 percent corporate tax and 9 percent national sales tax, according to PolitFact. Despite coming under harsh scrutiny, the plan still evokes strong support in certain circles.
“9-9-9 has become very popular with people for two reasons,” Cain said. “No. 1, it treats all businesses the same. No. 2, it treats all taxpayers the same. What a novel idea, everyone gets treated the same at a low rate. 9-9-9.”
Outside of his tax plan, Cain also spoke with students about the importance of staying informed during such a critical election.
“Know the facts, you don’t have an excuse to not know the facts. It’s called the Internet,” Cain said.
Cain also commended Temple University College Republicans for sponsoring the event, and highlighted the efforts of Temple College Democrats for promoting it.
“[TCD being involved] is a good thing, and here’s why,” Cain said. “When you have to make a decision, strip away the label…Washington is messed up because of both political parties.”
With Nov. 6 quickly approaching, Cain highlighted the importance of youth votes, and indicated a shift in youth political loyalties. The critical nature of young voters was the primary motivation for targeting the Truth Tour to college students, Cain said.
“We focus on the college crowd because…young voters turn out in large numbers for [President Barack] Obama, but I happen to believe that that is shifting back,” Cain said. “The youth enthusiasm is shift in…now that they’ve been able to see Gov. [Mitt] Romney through an unfiltered media lens.”
Sophomore history major Beth Burns-Lynch, member of Temple Democratic Socialists, came out on Friday night to hear Cain speak, whom she defined as “hilarious”, and also to partake in constructive conversation.
“Political dialogue is important,” Burns-Lynch said. “And even when you have people like Herman Cain, who claims this is a non-partisan event. Whatever, it’s important for people to get out and get involved.”
Despite no further plans of running for public office, due to what he briefly referred to as “vicious character attacks,” Cain was adamant that he plans to continue spreading information and continuing in civic involvement, as well as return to talk radio full-time.
“Success is a journey, not a destination,” he said, reflecting on his bid for the Oval Office. “And that means that you have to be open to changes in direction, open to new opportunities.”
Ali Watkins can be reached at email@example.com.