Herman Cain announced revisions to his 9-9-9 plan Friday in Detroit, resulting in a new 9-0-9 for those too poor to pay income taxes.
With his recent rise in the polls. Cain's 9-9-9 plan, which would implement a 9 percent national sales tax, 9 percent personal income tax and 9 percent corporate business tax, has undergone increased scrutiny and faced criticism for its potential effect on the poor.
In his revised plan, Cain said that people who now do not earn enough to pay income tax would pay nothing in income tax under his revised plan. "If you are at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9 it is 9-0-9," Cain said. "Say amen y'all. 9-0-9."
During the press conference, Cain said this and his "opportunity" zone exceptions, which would allow businesses in area's with high unemployment to receive additional tax breaksto the plan were always in the works, but that he waited to unveil them as a way to "get people used to the whole concept."
The new plan, however, is a red flag to some GOP insiders who say this is just the latest in a week filled with explanations.
"He has qualities that appeal to people, he's charismatic, but he doesn't know what he doesn't know and that is going to hurt him in this campaign," said Matt Mackowiak, a GOP campaign operative. "What appealed about 999 was its simplicity. Now that he needs to describe it in detail, it makes it less simple and makes him look like he didn't know what he was doing in the first place."
This isn't the first time Cain had been forced to backtrack. Cain announced at a campaign rally in Tennessee last weekend that he would build a 20-foot border fence that would be electrified in places.
"It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side saying, 'It will kill you — Warning'," Cain said.
The next morning, Cain appeared on Meet the Press and said he was just joking, but by Monday again recanted and apologized for his comments, meanwhile telling reporters he still thought a border fence was a good idea.
"He just doesn't seem ready for prime time," Mackowiak says.
Cain again stumbled Tuesday night during the CNN debate when he said he'd never negotiate with terrorists when just hours before he said he'd consider negotiating with al Qaeda.
"I misspoke," Cain told CNN host Anderson Cooper following the debate in Las Vegas. "Because I didn't, you know, things are moving so fast, I misspoke. I would not do that, I simply would not do that."
Mackowiak says it's obvious that Cain isn't prepared for the speed of this race.
"I really think the narrative here and the one taking hold with Cain is that he's just not ready for this and he's going to start to lose supporters if he keeps this up."