NEW YORK -- Before a meeting with Donald Trump here, Herman Cain was again asked about a Sunday Washington Post report that painted on a rock on a property leased by the Texas Gov. Rick Perry's was a racial slur offensive to African Americans. But instead of criticizing Perry like he did yesterday, Cain dismissed it.
"I really don't care about that word," Cain said, adding that he was "satisfied" with both Perry's response yesterday, and the fact that the word was painted over. He called the whole story a "distraction" and presented to reporters a "lets-get-down-to-business" attitude, saying he was excited to talk to Trump about China and the American economy.
That’s a major change in tune from Cain, who yesterday said of the story, “I think that it shows a lack of sensitivity for a long time of not taking that word off of that rock and renaming the place. It's just basically a case of insensitivity."
After his meeting with Trump, Cain again spoke to reporters, saying of the meeting, "It went outstanding."
Cain was inside Trump's midtown Manhattan headquarters for nearly an hour. Citing their mutual background as businessmen, he said they "hit it off right away," and had even exchanged phone numbers.
Trump did not come out to greet Cain before the meeting or speak to reporters after the meeting. Cain said the get-together focused mostly on two subjects -- his 9-9-9 tax reform plan, and the U.S. relationship with China, a subject in which Trump has professed his expertise as a result of his many business interests in the country.
"He likes my 9-9-9 Plan," Cain said, contending his plan would level the playing field with China by eliminating the taxes embedded in buying products.
He also claimed the plan would create "about a 5% GDP growth and six million jobs."
When pressed by NBC News on a timeframe for such robust economic growth, Cain merely said his numbers were checked by independent experts through "rigorous analysis."
Cain's focus on reforming the tax code and leveling the relationship with China has gained some traction in recent weeks with primary voters. His poll numbers have risen, with Perry’s stumbles and his surprising win at the Florida straw poll.
Cain is the third declared candidate to meet with Trump, after Perry and Mitt Romney also met with him last month.
Cain gave some insight into what he believes is Trump's thinking about a possible endorsement.
"Mr. Trump is the type of person that if he wants to endorse you, you don't have to ask him,” Cain said. “I believe -- and I would do the same thing -- that he's waiting for the field to narrow down a little more before he decides whether or not he wants to put his endorsement on a particular candidate."