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Nevada GOP Debate: Boycotts The Backdrop As Cain Takes The Hot Seat

Dan Watson |
October 18, 2011 | 9:49 a.m. PDT


Herman Cain (Creative Commons)
Herman Cain (Creative Commons)

All eyes will be on Herman Cain, and few actually on Nevada, as the GOP candidates take the stage Tuesday night for another debate in Las Vegas.

The former Godfather's Pizza CEO looks to stay on top in the polls following his surprise first-place finish in the latest Wall Street/Journal/NBC News poll. 

The no-nonsense businessman, who has catapulted in the polls despite facing intense scrutiny in recent weeks, will likely be on the hot seat, as fellow candidates grill him on his past and actual issue positions. Cain's climb comes at the expense of Rick Perry's plummet, and while Republicans have refused to completely rally behind Mitt Romney. 

Under further scrutiny will be Cain's catchy 9-9-9 tax plan, which while stricking a cord with many frustrated Americans has also drawn the ire of plenty others, some who have concluded it will benefit the wealthiest Americans while hurting low-income people. 

Over the weekend, Cain also caused a stir when he called for an electric fence on the border with Mexico. "It's going to be electrified. And there is going to be a sign on the other side that says, 'It will kill you,'" Cain said.

Cain apologized for the comments, calling them a joke. 

And while Cain will fight to stay in the spotlight, Nevada and its people figure to be overlooked, and the state's caucus even boycotted.

A boycott has been brewing in the Silver State since Friday, when Jon Huntsman was the first to pull the trigger on boycotting Nevada's new caucus date of Jan. 14, which puts in jeopardy New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary status. He also will not participate in Tuesday's debate.

New Hampshire figures to be especially important to Huntsman, who was followed in his boycott by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. 

To the dismay of Nevadians, many of the candidates figure to be in town for the national spotlight, with little to no interest in the issues of the people of Las Vegas, writes the Las Vegas Sun:

"Were this Iowa, every candidate would be jockeying for the best-positioned bale of hay and the most impressive looking stick of deep-fried butter. Were it New Hampshire, candidates would doubtless be dropping into VFW halls and country stores, shaking hands and kissing babies.

But Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, who placed first and second in the Nevada caucuses four years ago, were the only candidates to hold public rallies by the eve of the debate."

Also ignored has been the housing crisis, particularly crushing in Nevada, reports the Los Angeles Times:

"When the Republican hopefuls gather in Las Vegas on Tuesday for the eighth in their series of debates, it will be a rare Western appearance. Should they address the bursting of the housing bubble and its devastating effects, it will be rarer still.

The candidates have said little about the issue on the campaign trail and mentioned nothing on their campaign websites, save a veiled reference from businessman Herman Cain, who criticizes Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal mortgage guarantor."



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