LAS VEGAS (AP) — Herman Cain has risen fast. Now the question is: Will he fall?

As Republican presidential hopefuls were preparing for a debate here Tuesday night, Cain has been facing more and more intense scrutiny as his poll numbers have jumped upward.

Now that he’s in the national spotlight, he’s already had to apologize for comments he made over the weekend calling for an electric fence on the Southern border with Mexico.

At a campaign stop Monday in Arizona, Cain appeared with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an aggressive anti-immigration proponent. “It was a joke,” Cain said emphatically during a news conference. “I apologize if I offended anyone. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa.”

Cain told an audience in Tennessee on Saturday that the fence is “going to be electrified. And there is going to be a sign on the other side that says, `It will kill you.”‘

Immigration already has flared on the campaign trail — and contributed to the sinking of another fast-rising GOP candidate. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has struggled to explain why he signed a law giving in-state tuition breaks to illegal immigrants at Texas universities. When he first entered the race, he was at or near the top of many national polls. He’s fallen back since, and Cain has emerged as the more popular alternative to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.

Also participating in Tuesday’s debate are Romney, Perry, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Rep. Ron Paul, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

Missing is former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who’s boycotting the Nevada caucuses in defense of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary. Nevada has scheduled its contest for Jan. 14, and Republican officials are pressuring Romney and other Republicans to join Huntsman’s boycott if the state refuses to hold the caucuses later in January.

Also potentially at issue on Tuesday is the foreclosure crisis. So far, it’s been almost forgotten on the campaign trail, but the candidates will probably have little choice but to address it. Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate, a statistic that’s driving the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. It’s the root of the economic crisis, but it barely has been discussed as issues like immigration and vaccines for children have dominated the GOP primary.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (11)
  1. zee the reporter says:

    warren buffett would pay 0 taxes if cain is president

    1. Jake says:

      I thought he would pay 9 something. Or 9 9 9. Or buy a five dollar footlong. It all confuses me.

    2. dan says:

      Assuming Mr Buffet doesnt buy anything or have any W-2 income. Great reporting Zee

  2. Citizen says:

    Herman Cain is a tool of the Koch Brothers and is part of their American Dream Foundation, a fact he is reluctant to share.

    1. herman for pres says:

      Obama, a tool of George Soros, GE, Goldman Sachs etc.

  3. Squirrel says:

    Cain = Another Federal Reserve stooge

  4. teapartyad says:

    Zee the reporter, you are such a mis-guided soul,when Buffet buys a 50 million dollar Gulf Stream he will pay enough tax to support about 500 welfare recipients for a year. And on the housing crash,Michele Bachmann and Newt talked about the Community Reinvestment Act and also talked about Chris Dodd and Barney Frank, the ties they had to Fanny and Freddie. Please, report the news instead of views!!!

  5. Murph says:

    It’s kinda a really perplexing mystery to me as to how evangical conservatives would gravitate to someone who has two major flaws in that direction of thought.First of all his number is 999 or 666 upside down!.Second his name is Cain! I am no relgious nut.But……??? There are so many indications of satanic influences in politics right now,that these signs should not be totally ignored!

    1. e says:

      Put down the crack pipe murph, and go back to your obama shrine

      1. Murph says:

        Don’t have one! But your E for Elephant people candidates have plenty of them to lend you ,at a high interest rate,plus a fee,since they don’t raise taxes! They just raise moronic religio pretenders and chronic liars to go into politics!

    2. Jannlovee says:

      You can have that blubbering breraucuat Newt for your party lead, but why is Cain just a black Conservative ? Is he not a business Conservative or a private sector Conservative ? That’s how he’s been framing his run: knowing more about Fortune 500 than foreign policy. You those GOP power drunks still prop up a guy, who for all his gains, is just a black Conservative. >>> Vermin a newt 2 household pests who will be exterminated from peoples’ minds come 2012! LOL!!!

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