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Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, and More Sunday Talk

Herman Cain apologizes for his smoking ad, Rick Perry defends tax cuts for the rich, Plouffe questions Romney’s ‘core,’ and more.

Schieffer Eviscerates Cain’s Campaign Ad

Herman Cain’s smoking ad may have spurred a slew of parodies, but at least one person isn’t laughing. Bob Schieffer eviscerated Cain on Face the Nation over the use a cigarette in his campaign ad gone viral. Schieffer cited his own battle against smoking-related cancer and questioned the “tone” of Cain’s campaign. “Was it meant to be funny?” Schieffer asked before adding, “I would suggest that perhaps as the frontrunner you’d want to raise the level of the campaign.” Cain retreated, acknowledging the negative repercussions, and apologized by making a firm declaration against lighting up.

Perry’s Tax Cuts for the Rich

All’s fair in love and war, but what about under Perry’s tax plan? On Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace pressed Perry on his recently unveiled agenda. “When the rich are getting a lot richer and the middle class are struggling, why don’t you care about tax fairness?” Wallace asked. Perry defended his plan, saying it entails tax cuts for everyone, and that “historically” the wealthy invest more which in turn leads to job creation. So does that mean the 1 percent is going to fix the economy?

Does Bachmann Need a ‘Miracle?’

Here’s one way to avoid answering a question. On This Week, Christiane Amanpour pressed Michele Bachmann over whether Iowa is a “must-win state” for her flailing presidential bid. Bachmann did her best to deflect, relying on her “positive message” to circumvent a real answer. Still, with her poll numbers in the single digits, one can’t help but wonder if doom in Iowa would spell doom for her entire campaign.

Plouffe: Romney ‘Has No Core’

Mitt Romney didn’t make the rounds on the Sunday shows, but that didn’t keep his name out of the discussion. White House senior advisor David Plouffe tore into Romney’s character, telling David Gregory on Meet the Press that Romney’s biggest problem is himself. After listing a string of Romney flip-flops, Plouffe concluded with, “If he thought it was good to say the sky was green and the grass was blue to win an election, he’d say it.” Ouch.

Ron Paul on Cutting Student Loans

Here’s one idea that won’t impress Occupy Wall Street protesters. Ron Paul explained his education stance on State of the Union, telling Candy Crowley that “college costs too much” for the government to offer federal student loans for higher education. His reasoning? He did it on his own, so why can’t kids today can’t do the same? After all “anyone who is ambitious enough” will make it, according to Paul.

Bill Gates on His Steve Jobs Rivalry

Try this for healthy competition. Christiane Amanpour asked Bill Gates about Steve Jobs’s new biography, where he is quoted as saying the Microsoft cofounder was “unimaginative, had never invented anything and shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas.” Gates chalked it all up to good-natured competition, stating the two worked together several times and that Jobs “said a lot of very nice things about me.” Still, Gates managed to get in a few zingers of his own about the struggles Apple has faced over the years. How’s that for burying the hatchet?

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Turning the Lens on the Media

Are the GOP debates all about politics, or does it really just come down to network ratings? Panelists on CNN’s Reliable Sources faced off on whether the media’s own narcissism is driving the political sphere. So are the debates beneficial in helping narrow down the GOP field? It depends on who you ask.