Afternoon Fix: Cain tries to explain abortion position yet again

at 04:53 PM ET, 10/21/2011

Herman Cain keeps digging, Eric Cantor canceled his income inequality speech, Bachmann says her New Hampshire staff didn’t quit, and Romney is hitting Obama hard on Iraq.

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WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED:

* On Fox News today, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain again tried to clarify his position on abortion, explaining that when he said it was a personal choice, he meant a personal choice to break the law. “Look, abortion should not be legal, that is clear,” he said — with no exceptions for rape. ‘But if that family made a decision to break the law, that is that family’s decision, that’s all I’m trying to say.”

* House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) canceled a planned speech on income disparity at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business today. Occupy Philadelphia had organized a march from City Hall to University City to protest the speech. Cantor’s office said that the university was planning to let in the first 300 people who showed up (including protesters), going against a previous agreement to allow in only university community members.

* In yet another sign that her presidential bid is in trouble, WMUR reports that the New Hampshire staff of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) quit en masse today. About a half a dozen staffers left the campaign over frustration with what they saw as a lack of commitment to the Granite State. But Bachmann herself says the report is wrong, saying “we’ve made calls and it’s certainly not true.”

* Another day, another political photo scandal. A California man claims that Medford, N.J. Mayor Chris Myers (R) paid to have sex with him. The man posted alleged photos of the politician online. Myers, who ran for Congress in 2008, denies the accusations but says he was advised not to investigate the matter. The website features a photo of a man in his underwear who appears to be Myers, as well as personal IDs. “I’ve been down that road before, where a photo has been photoshopped to look like something it wasn’t,” Myers said.

WHAT YOU SHOULDN’T MISS:

* Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is hitting Obama — hard — over the planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq by the end of this year. In a statement, the presidential candidate said the decision was either “naked political calculation” or “sheer ineptitude” that “unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands.”

* Cain leads in a new University of Iowa poll with 37 percent of likely caucus attendees, with Romney following at 27 percent. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was a distant third at 12 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry is all the way down at 6 percent and Bachmann is at 4 percent. Romney made a cautious return to Iowa this week for the first time this fall, seeing new opportunity in the state.

* President Obama’s approval rating has slid down to 41 percent in the most recent Gallup polling, making this quarter the worst of his presidency. His job approval has ranged narrowly between 38 percent and 43 percent for most of the past three months — not good news for the president, obviously.

* As promised, Cain has responded to complaints that his 9-9-9 plan would unduly increase the tax burden on many Americans with a few tweaks. Under the revised plan, people living below the poverty line would not pay income taxes, and the payroll tax would be eliminated. Businesses in certain struggling “opportunity zones” around the country would also pay lower taxes and get special deductions. He also suggested the elimination of the minimum wage in those areas.

* The Nevada Republican Party’s Central Committee is meeting tomorrow and will likely vote to move the state’s caucus from January 14 to February 4, ending a standoff with New Hampshire. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus reportedly pressed Nevada leaders to move to the later date, promising better protection of the state’s early status in future cycles.

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