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Herman Cain: A Long Shot in 2012, but That's Not Stopping Him

4 years ago
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- When Herman Cain walks into a tea party event, he is greeted like a rock star.

"It's him, it's him," spreads across the meeting room.

And so it was here on Thursday. When people approached him, they acted like they knew him. They mentioned his Atlanta radio show. They asked about his book, "They Think You're Stupid." They told him they are curious about his possible 2012 presidential run.

Cain was in Little Rock for the Arkansas Defending the American Dream Summit hosted by Americans for Prosperity in Arkansas with about 150 attendees. Cain, the former chairman and deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and the former CEO of Godfather's Pizza, is the first of many potential 2012 presidential candidates to form an official exploratory committee.

He is building a grassroots movement by attending small gatherings around the country. Last year, he addressed more than 40 tea party rallies. On Friday, he hits Phoenix for the Tea Party Summit.

Cain sells books, videos of his speeches, and bumper stickers at these events. He passes out a pamphlet, "Common Sense Solutions: The People's Platform," which focuses on national security, the fair tax, domestic energy resources, and repealing and replacing "health care deform," among other issues.

Sure, he's a long-shot candidate, and he knows it, but don't discount him.

"Bill Clinton, another long-shot candidate," he told Politics Daily. "People would be nuts to think that a long-shot candidate didn't have a chance to win."

And, he points out, Barack Obama was another long-shot candidate who reached the Oval Office. "He was able to knock off the Clinton machine, that's what I call it, because people got excited about a fresh face and a fresh voice."

But that's no longer the case, in his view.

"There's nothing behind the voice or the message," he said. "This administration is in free fall. The country is in a state of anxiety and the administration doesn't have a handle on it all."

Cain initially became known in political circles thanks to Bill Clinton. During the 1993 health care debate, he confronted the president at a town meeting in Kansas City.

He asked Clinton about the "employer mandate" -- the proposal that most employers would have to offer health insurance to their workers -- in the health care reform package. Cain said it would cost jobs. Clinton said subsidies would help small business. Cain didn't back down and told Clinton, "Quite honestly, your calculation is inaccurate. In the competitive marketplace it simply doesn't work that way."

Cain supports the fair tax, which, among other things, would end current federal taxes and replace them with a national sales tax. Another potential 2012 candidate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, also supports the idea. Cain said the two have a common bond where the fair tax is concerned because both of them know how to articulate and defend it.

"We need the fair tax to stimulate the economy," he said.

Cain sees the tea party movement getting stronger especially after the 2010 midterm elections. He sees more people who have never been involved in the electoral process leading into 2012. And that's critical for change, he said.

"I'm optimistic," he said. "I see it getting stronger and getting bigger everywhere I go."

That's in no small part due to Sarah Palin, who has energized the conservative moment. "She has definitely been a plus," he said. "That's why liberals hate her because conservatives love her."

But some people think Cain is the one to watch – or at least learn more about.

Lynn Holberton of Hot Springs Village, Ark., bought two of Cain's books Thursday. She knew about him because her daughter, who lives in Ohio, had heard him on the radio.

"She told me 'We should keep our eye on him,' and I liked what I've read and I like that he has a business background," Holberton said. "This country needs someone with business experience instead of political experience."

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My choice is still Congressman Lt. Col. Allen West!!

March 03 2011 at 3:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

We do need someone who comes from business. I agree 100%, but Herman Cain wouldn't have my vote. Till today, I never heard of him. Just like I didn't vote for Obama. Never knew him either till he ran for president. I don't know about you, but I like to vote on people who I can easily find and learn about their backrounds so I know what I'm voting for when I vote someone in.

March 03 2011 at 1:51 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

"'We need the fair tax to stimulate the economy,' he said." Anyone who could say that without biting sarcasm has no understanding of basic economic theory. The "Fair Tax" replaces all other taxes with a federal sales tax. Obviously such a tax would have to generate similar revenue. If the only way people can get taxed is by buying things, and of course they would be taxed very heavily for that, that will increase their tendency to not buy things and just hold on to their money. When people hold on to their money as much as they possibly can, that creates a recession. Mr. Cain, try reading What Ever Happened to Penny Candy. It should only take a week or so at a sixth grade reading level, so I'm sure you can finish it in time to get your name off the ballot.

March 03 2011 at 12:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Are you kidding? Cain is wasting his time and money. Not republicans again. Republican chance for WH has been pre-empted by Governor Walker of Wisconsin. People are angry with and fear republicans now. Even some TEA Party members have now switched positions to support democrats. Republicans have abused American people this year. The whole country is now waiting 2012 for a revenge against republicans. Believe it or now no republican will be elected as state or federal senator, congress or president. Republicans are now in a "black hole" they cannot get out. Welcome to re-electing President Obama.

March 01 2011 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've followed both Cain and Hucklebee in their public careers and find their political views are very similar. They are conservative in the manner that the Republican Party platform has been conservative - even though most members of congress and the past president seemed to forget or ignore that. It is understandable that most Tea Party members support both as they are classically pro business and employment - and if you don't understand that connection you might as well stop reading here. I think Cain has a more Presidential demeanor and is quite knowledgeable on the forces and responses of the American economic system. I consider it a plus that he is a member of the Fed Reserve. That dosen't make him a slave to the establishment, just a businessman who understands how things work. On the personality front Huckabee is much more entertaining as you have observed on his TV show. Cain tends to repeat his positions rather often, although I tend to agree with his points. Either could be an effective president as they both have deep roots to draw advice from - and they both would consider the advice given. I think Cain might be a bit more decisive - Huckabee a bit more Reaganesque.

February 28 2011 at 2:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have followed Herman Cain on his Atlanta radio talk show and other activities for years with keen and growing interest. His long shot status is growing shorter with each passing day. The early vitriol against Mr. Cain from the left (such as "black garbage pail") is solid proof of the danger he poses to their evil agenda. Congressman Allen West is another favorite of mine. In fact,as of today, a year and a half out, my choice for Pres. and VP would be between Herman Cain, Allen West and Mike Huckabee. Any combination of these tree would make a dynamic duo.

February 27 2011 at 5:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

Also wish A.West would run,I would vote for either one!

February 27 2011 at 4:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Now there you go again....
Now admit it ,you don't know the first thing about Mr Cain,do you?
It IS the CONTENT of this mans CHARACTER
that has attracted so many to his possible campaign.
Why is this difficult for you to discern?

February 27 2011 at 3:39 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

If Cain were so smart --like so many of the loons on here claim he is--then why is he just a talk radio buffoon? If his legacy is being a Pizza maker, that's nothing..making pizza and putting a high mark up on it is nothing. Not creative..The Dems have all the high tech geniuses and republicans have the simple minded loons...Creativitness and thinking outside the box leaders will take usinto the new age...Republicans have none of those, The Dems do.

February 27 2011 at 12:51 PM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply

So far everything I have seen on this guy plus his interviews that I have seen suggest he would be an excellent President and restore some respect to the black community after the Obama debacle. He gets a thumbs up from me.

February 27 2011 at 12:39 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to eg8tr's comment

Restore respect to the black community? I am a black septuagenarian. I consider myself a law abiding citizen and believe in self respect, respect for the rights of others, and respect for the rule of law. The only respect I want from my fellow citizens is that they respect my right to exist free of any encumbrances from them and leave me alone.

March 04 2011 at 11:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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