Nightly News   |  October 14, 2011

Perry calls for new jobs, Cain defends 9-9-9 plan

GOP presidential hopefuls Rick Perry and Herman Cain were out campaigning today. Perry claimed he could create 1.2 million jobs, while Cain defended his 9-9-9 plan. NBC’s Kelly O’Donnell has more.

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BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: And at the same time, two of the president's rivals, Republicans running for his job, were drilling down on the economy and taxes today. NBC 's Kelly O'Donnell has our report tonight.

KELLY O'DONNELL reporting: With a hard hat and a new jobs plan, Governor Rick Perry picked a steel plant near Pittsburgh to reboot his nine-week-old campaign.

Governor RICK PERRY: Creating jobs in America is as simple as changing presidents, and that is the choice facing Americans.

O'DONNELL: Going big with a blitz of TV interviews today...

Gov. PERRY: I don't worry too much about polls.

O'DONNELL: ...and his first policy address, Perry claimed he could create 1.2 million jobs by expanding American oil and natural gas production on lands now protected from drilling.

Gov. PERRY: I do not accept the choice that we must pick between energy and the environment.

O'DONNELL: Adjusting to his new front-runner status...

Mr. HERMAN CAIN: Nine, nine, nine!

O'DONNELL: ... Herman Cain is now pushing back on critics who claim his tax code overhaul, including a 9 percent national sales tax, would hit lower income people harder.

Mr. HERMAN CAIN: It is transparent. It is efficient. It is fair. Not fair according to Washington 's definition of fair, but fair according to the definition in Webster's dictionary .

O'DONNELL: Critics insist Cain identify the advisers who have helped him craft his nine, nine, nine plan.

Mr. CAIN: I'm not going to tell you. They're my advisers. They're not yours. They just want to know who my smart people are so they can attack them.

O'DONNELL: Today Cain , who typically does not focus on race as a campaign issue, described slurs made against him and rejected racial attacks.

Mr. CAIN: Because I am an American black conservative who thinks for myself and I have left that democrat plantation, I guess that makes me a bad apple . Then I'm just going to be a bad apple .

O'DONNELL: And Cain said today that he really feels that target on his back now that he has climbed in the polls, with scrutiny from the media, from other GOP contenders. And, Brian , he has a very high profile weekend here in Washington , DC , that will include attending the formal dedication of the memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Brian :

WILLIAMS: Kelly O'Donnell in our DC newsroom tonight, thanks. And there'll