Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, spoke to an audience of more than 200 people at the University of Florida Thursday night.
Cain’s appearance in Gainesville is part of a national speaking tour called the College Truth Tour. He is speaking at various college campuses to encourage students to pursue their goals and become informed citizens.
“Economic freedom is under attack, and the only way we gonna take it back is to make people smarter and more informed about the facts,” he said.
Cain began his speech by sharing a story of his parents’ life. He used the story as an opportunity to take a political jab at President Obama.
“I got news for President Obama,” Cain said. “My dad did build that house.”
Cain shared his experiences in the Department of the Navy and the corporate world to encourage students to pursue their dreams, even if they face serious obstacles. After his words of encouragement, the speech became political.
“The biggest problems we have, that we need to fix, start with the economy,” he said. “It is not growing; that is a fact. Our economy is growing at a less than 2-percent growth rate per year, which is anemic.”
Cain said the tax code should be replaced and suggested several plans, including his own famous “9-9-9″ plan, which called for a 9 percent income tax, 9 percent business tax and a 9 percent federal sales tax.
He said the U.S. dependence on foreign oil was a threat to national security, and the country had the resources in its own borders to cover its own energy needs. He then made an analogy about the scale of the national debt.
“We could sell the entire United States of America to China and we would still be three trillion dollars in the hole,” Cain said.
After his speech, Cain spoke to reporters about individual responsibility.
“What the individual can do is make sure they participate by voting and be prepared to have a civil dialogue with people who may be uninformed,” he said.
Cain’s next stop on the tour is at the University of Central Michigan on Sept. 25.
Mina Radman edited this story online.