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Cain: 'I chose to put family first'

 

WASHINGTON, DC -- Wild applause for talk of "gutter politics," flat taxes, and "stupid people who are ruining America."

Time to party like it's 9-9-9.

Former presidential candidate and current rock-star-reception recipient Herman Cain addressed a packed hotel ballroom at the conservative CPAC conference Thursday, encouraging the audience to back his famed 9-9-9 plan and explaining his rationale for exiting the 2012 contest.

"There were two reasons I dropped out of the race," Cain said. "Gutter politics. And, No. 2, I chose to put family first."

Invoking the biblical tale of the underdog, Cain added: "And in making that decision, I knew that we together could change Washington, DC from the outside and from the bottom up, even if your David didn't make it to the White House."

Cain later said that he did not regret his decision, one that came after weeks of scrutiny for accusations of sexual harassment from numerous alleged victims, because "there is more than one way to skin a cat."

The onetime pizza executive mainly used his remarks to plug his 9-9-9 tax plan, urging conservatives to get federal candidates to "adopt" the idea before winning office.

And he touted his support for one such candidate, "Joe the Plumber," who is running for Congress in Ohio this cycle.

Cain, like earlier CPAC speaker Rick Perry, did not mention Newt Gingrich, the candidate whom both former candidates endorsed after exiting the race.

But he did repeat one of his most popular refrains from his brief tenure as a presidential front-runner.

"We need another revolution in this country! It won't be bombs and bullets, not this time. It will be brains and balance at the ballot box."

"We must outsmart the liberals! We must outsmart the stupid people who are trying to ruin America!" Cain said to raucous cheers. "We outnumber the stupid people. Trust me. I counted em!"

And he promised to stay in the spotlight.

"A lot of people thought that after the character assassination that was launched against me, that Herman was going to shut up and sit down and go away," he said. "Ain't gonna happen."