“I have a dream.”
That’s how Herman Cain launched his keynote speech at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans today.
Cain clarified that he had two dreams. One, that the GOP win the House and Senate in 2012. Two, that the audience was “looking at the next president of the United States of America.”
Shooting back at critics who had decried his candidacy, Cain said, “To Mr. [Bill] O’Reilly, Mr. [Karl] Rove, Mr. [Charles] Krauthammer, I didn’t get the memo that I’m not supposed to run.”
He also had a response for those who said of his lack of foreign policy experience was a fatal flaw. “You’re right,” Cain said. “I don’t have any foreign policy experience, but … you don’t need foreign policy experience to know your friends and your enemies.”
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure you stand by your friends and keep an eye on your enemies,” he added.
To those who charged him with not understanding the Washington culture, Cain replied, “I do. It doesn’t work. That’s why I’m coming.”
During the speech, Cain outlined his economic plan: eliminate the capital gains tax, make 25 percent the highest corporate and individual tax rate, institute a “real” payroll tax holiday, suspend taxes on foreign repatriated profits. The “most important” step would be to make all those cuts permanent: “Uncertainty is killing this economy.”
“When we put the right person in the white house — moi — America’s exceptionalism will be obvious again,” Cain said, referencing New Orleans’s French heritage.
He positioned himself as a problem solver. “People are sick and tired of being sick and tired of problems not being solved in Washington, D.C.,” Cain observed.
For Cain, the goal is to stay on offense: to change our current policies so that the future’s prosperity is preserved.
“Because the founding fathers did their job, we got to be the defending fathers,” he said.