Concord, New Hampshire (CNN) - Herman Cain took on his critics with high energy and humor at a campaign rally Thursday, even as more controversy bubbled up around his Republican presidential campaign.
The former CEO of Godfather's Pizza spoke before more than a hundred enthusiastic supporters - though fewer than the campaign expected - in Nashua, New Hampshire, hours after confusion over a meeting with an influential state paper had both sides accusing the other of canceling.
At the rally, Cain was defiant, saying the media had misrepresented his economic policy and paid him more attention than the other candidates.
"They spend more time on when I'm not talking than when the other candidates are talking," he said as the audience laughed. "That's a compliment."
Cain was making reference to media reports about a several-second pause Cain gave while answering a question about foreign policy from a Milwaukee newspaper earlier this week.
Cain said he would rely on experts to help advise him on foreign policy in the White House.
"Who knows every detail of every country of every situation everywhere on the planet? Nobody," he said. "We've got plenty of experts, and a leader knows how to use those experts. We need a leader, not a reader."
Earlier in the day Cain took part in a hallowed New Hampshire campaign tradition, meeting with the secretary of state in the capital of the nation's first primary voting state.
The businessman and presidential candidate did not register in person for his candidacy in late October but said Thursday he did not want to miss out on the tradition.
Cain added his signature to a campaign poster signed by many candidates, and added a message: "We must be the defending fathers."
"The founding fathers already did their job," he said.
Cain pledged his commitment to New Hampshire, a state he has infrequently visited in recent months, and argued his "9-9-9" plan would help residents here despite what he admitted was some push-back on the plan in the state.
Cain's plan calls for a 9% national sales tax. Currently New Hampshire does not impose a sales tax, and the issue of low taxation is a rallying cry in the state.
"Some people have pushed back," Cain told reporters Thursday, but explained his plan would result in lower prices on consumer goods and replace some federal taxes all citizens pay. "If you look at the combination of 9% on personal income and 9% sales tax, you really end up paying less in taxes."
The candidate said he was undeterred by a series of difficult weeks for his campaign. Cain has been dogged recently by accusations he sexually harassed four women in the 1990s and for his meandering response to a foreign policy question at the Milwaukee newspaper meeting.
"When you run for office you know you're going to get attacked," he said. "If what has happened to me, and us, at this point is enough to cause you to step down, you shouldn't have gotten into the race. You've got to be tougher than that."
Next up on his schedule? Cain said he planned to take two or three days off to spend Thanksgiving with his family, and eat his favorite kinds of pie - cherry and sweet potato.
As for what he's thankful for this year, Cain said he was grateful to "live in the greatest country in the world."
"I am the epitome of having achieved the American dream," he said. "And I'm working hard to try to make sure that future generations will get the same opportunities that all of us have had."
A Bloomberg poll out Wednesday indicated Cain at 8% support among people likely to vote in New Hampshire's Jan. 10 GOP presidential primary.