|Herman Cain has a target on his back|
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- How Herman Cain deflects criticism from the rest of the field of Republican presidential hopefuls at Tuesday's debate could ultimately determine the fate of his campaign. Early on Cain complained that he hadn't received the same kind of media attention given to Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. But since his "9-9-9" plan connected with a vast number of Republican voters in early October, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO has leapt to the upper tier.
Tonight viewers and Cain will experience something new: A myriad of prepared attacks against Herman Cain's policies and his "9-9-9" plan. "They're going to pick on him," TheStreet contributor Mallory Factor says. Cain asked for respect and he has earned it from Republican and Republican-leaning voters, who have praised the former radio talk-show host for his straight-talk approach and his concrete solution to what some have considered a failed American tax code. "I don't have the traditional profile, immediate name ID, a 'kajillion' dollars, and I have never held public office," Cain told TheStreet on Oct. 3. "The people don't care that I've never held public office." Maybe not, but the opponents he has leapfrogged in the polls are starting to care. Rick Santorum
directly criticized Cain in last week's debate, while Jon Huntsman and Michele Bachmann flung a few 9-9-9 jokes his way. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, however, barely barked at the man who is now neck-and-neck with him at the top of the polls. That will change at Tuesday's debate. Chief Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told Fox News last week that they admire Cain and consider him a serious competitor, but Fehrnstrom went on to say that the "9-9-9" plan has some drawbacks -- specifically that he thinks people aren't ready for a national sales tax. This is likely just a taste of what will unfold in Nevada as Romney, who has been among the frontrunners for the Republican nomination from the beginning, looks to swat away another challenger as he seems to have done with Perry, who made a late strong entry to the race but has since fallen back. -- Written by Joe Deaux in New York. >To contact the writer, click here: Joe Deaux. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/JoeDeaux. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org