- The Washington Times - Friday, October 7, 2011

Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich have a singular mission: to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and defeat President Obama next year. But in back-to-back speeches Friday at a gathering of conservative activists in Washington, the two Georgians took widely divergent approaches to spread their message.

Mr. Cain, speaking with the emotion and cadence of an evangelical preacher, wowed a packed ballroom at the Omni Shoreham Hotel with comments about abstract patriotism, America’s leadership role in the world, his struggles growing up in a poor Atlanta household and Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Gingrich followed with 22-minute lecture-style talk on the problems of the American judicial system, railing against a “judicial class” he said was impeding American greatness.

“The American dream is under attack because we have become a nation of crises,” said Mr. Cain. “And that shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan talked about has started to slide down to the side of the hill because of all of these crises.”

Mr. Cain criticized the anti-Wall Street protests protesting this week in New York, saying their angst is misguided and that Congress and President Obama instead are to blame for the country’s economic woes.

“You can demonstrate all you want to on Wall Street. The problem is 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” said Mr. Cain while an audience of at least 2,000 roared with applause. He failed to mention, though, that the Wall Street bailout of 2008 was orchestrated by the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Mr. Cain defended his “9-9-9” tax plan, which calls for setting the personal income tax, including Social Security and Medicare, at 9 percent for everyone, reducing corporate taxes to 9 percent and establishing a new national sales tax of 9 percent.

“The critics are already trying to prove why 9-9-9 is not a good idea,” said the former chief executive officer of Godfathers Pizza chain. “No, there has been some very serious thinking that went into that.”

Mr. Cain, whose campaign languished in near obscurity for months but in recent weeks has surged in the polls, brushed aside criticism that he wasn’t a legitimate candidate.

“One of the other questions that I often get [is], ‘Why are you running for president?’” he said, to which he rhetorically answered, “To be president … I’m not running to go to Disneyland.”

Mr. Gingrich, meanwhile, said the Founding Fathers would be aghast at how the judicial branch has superseded its Constitutional authority.

“Let me be clear. Judicial supremacy is factually wrong, it is morally wrong and it is an affront to the American system of self-government,” said the former U.S. speaker to cheers.

He cited Alexander Hamilton’s “The Federalist Papers,” which he said characterized the judiciary as the weakest of the three branches.

“This modern (judicial) model is just totally opposite the American tradition,” he said.

Mr. Gingrich said one of the major reasons he decided to run for president was a 2002 circuit court decision that said the phrase “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional. The decision, he said, highlights the country is in a “Constitutional crisis.”

Mr. Gingrich, who has struggled in the polls, added that his first act as president would be to abolish the more than three dozen White House “czars,” a list that has been growing for the past several administrations.

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