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Associated Press
Republican presidential candidate former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, left, speaks as businessman Herman Cain listens during the Iowa GOP/Fox News Debate at the CY Stephens Auditorium in Ames, Iowa, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, Pool)

After three solid September GOP debates, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has retaken the front-runner position according to a new Fox News poll.

He has overtaken Texas Gov. Rick Perry, despite barely growing his poll number, moving from 22 percent last month to 23 percent in the most recent poll. On the other hand, Perry, who is now polling at 19 percent, has been pillaged by upshot pizza-chain CEO Herman Cain who is nipping both candidates heels, polling at 17 percent.

Cain is the real story here. Last month he was polling at 6 percent. But, with a jobs plan that sounds like a $9.99 pizza deal, (9 percent business flat tax ; 9 percent individual flat tax; 9 percent national sales tax), Cain has become a real contender for the GOP nomination.

Cains rise happened almost overnight. After a solid outing in the last GOP debate, he was picked by almost every candidate to be their potential VP-running mate after a who-would-be-your-running-mate-if-you-had-to-pick-someone-on-stage question.

But thats not all.

Cain also left the sunshine state victorious in Floridas GOP straw poll--upsetting Rick Perry.

Interestingly, when Herman Cain was asked during the last debate who he would consider picking as his VP running mate, he chose Mitt Romney (and also Newt Gingrich).

While Cain is looking like the fast hare, Romney is appearing like the GOPs slow moving tortoise who, according to conventional wisdom, may just win the race. After all he also won a GOP straw poll this last week in Michigan.

All of this amounts to bad news for Perry; yet, he has plenty of time to regroup and have a strong showing at the upcoming debate in Hanover, New Hampshire on October 11th.