Iowa -- Republican presidential hopeful Herman
Cain has cast himself as the outsider, the pizza
magnate with real-world experience who will
bring fresh ideas to the nation's capital. But
Cain's economic ideas, support and organization
have close ties to two billionaire brothers who
bankroll right-leaning causes through their
group Americans for Prosperity.
manager and a number of aides have worked for
Americans for Prosperity, or AFP, the advocacy
group founded with support from billionaire
brothers Charles and David Koch, which lobbies
for lower taxes and less government regulation
and spending. Cain credits a businessman who
served on an AFP advisory board with helping
devise his "9-9-9" plan to rewrite the nation's
tax code. And his years of speaking at AFP
events have given the businessman and radio host
a network of loyal grassroots fans.
little-known businessman's political activities
are getting fresh scrutiny these days since he
soared to the top of some national polls.
to the Koch brothers could undercut his
outsider, non-political image among tea party
fans who detest politics as usual and candidates
connected with the party machine.
Cain as the public face of its "Prosperity
Expansion Project," and he traveled the country
in 2005 and 2006 speaking to activists who were
starting state-based AFP chapters from Wisconsin
to Virginia. Through his AFP work he met Mark
Block, a longtime Wisconsin Republican operative
hired to lead that state's AFP chapter in 2005
as he rebounded from an earlier campaign scandal
that derailed his career.
Cain sometimes traveled together as they built
up AFP: Cain was the charismatic speaker
preaching the ills of big government; Block was
the operative helping with nuts and bolts.
President Barack Obama's election helped spawn
the tea party, Cain was positioned to take
advantage. He became a draw at growing AFP-backed
rallies, impressing activists with a mix of
humor and hard-hitting rhetoric against Obama's
stimulus, health care and budget policies.
now Cain's campaign manager. Other aides who had
done AFP work were also brought on board.
spokeswoman Ellen Carmichael, who recently left
the campaign, was an AFP coordinator in
Louisiana. His campaign's outside law firm is
representing AFP in a case challenging Wisconsin
campaign finance regulations. At least six other
current and former paid employees and
consultants for Cain's campaign have worked for
AFP in various capacities.
has credited Rich Lowrie, a Cleveland
businessman who served on AFP's board of
advisors from 2005 to 2008, with being a key
economic adviser and with helping to develop his
plan to cut the corporate tax rate to 9 percent,
impose a national sales tax of 9 percent and set
a flat income tax rate of 9 percent
"He's got a
national network now that perhaps he wouldn't
have had 15 or 20 years ago because of his work
with AFP," said Republican Party of Wisconsin
Vice Chair Brian Schimming, who has introduced
Cain at events in Wisconsin. "For a presidential
candidate, that's obviously helpful to have."
Cain was smart to hire Block.
recent victories in straw polls in Florida and
Minnesota highlight the importance of organizing
supporters and Block, who has a deep network in
the tea party, "gets that side of it," Schimming
has had his problems as well. He settled a suit
in 2001 accusing him of illegally coordinating a
Wisconsin Supreme Court justice's re-election
with an outside group. Block agreed to pay
$15,000 and sit out of politics for three years.
is quick to promote his career at the helm of
the Godfather's Pizza chain, his ties to AFP
aren't something the candidate appears eager to
campaign did not respond to inquiries seeking
comment, and Cain does not include his AFP work
on his biography on his website.
continues to work with the group.
several other candidates will be at an Iowa
Republican Party dinner on Nov. 4, Cain is
scheduled to be in Washington mingling with
activists at AFP's annual "Defending the
American Dream" summit. He is the only confirmed
presidential candidate for the event.
spokesman Levi Russell said Cain has spoken at
dozens of AFP rallies and events over the years
to support a number of the group's activities.
AFP has often covered his travel expenses or
paid a "pretty modest honorarium" but he has not
been paid since becoming a presidential
candidate, he said.
dynamic, pro-business speaker that connects well
with our activists," Russell said. "AFP is a
very large organization, and there is a natural
overlap between Cain's message of fiscal
responsibility and the basic principles that AFP
spokeswoman for the Koch brothers did not
respond to The Associated Press's request for
comment on Cain.
liberals, Cain's rise with the help of AFP shows
the incredible influence that outside groups
controlled by super-wealthy individuals with
specific agendas can have on the political
Cain is the first presidential corporate
spokes-candidate," said Scot Ross, a liberal
activist who leads One Wisconsin Now, which has
often mocked AFP as a front group for corporate
interests. "The best way to have your issues
talked about in the issue debate is to have a
candidate in your pocket with snappy comebacks
and easily branded policy papers which mask how
destructive they would be."
agenda also includes weakening private and
public sector unions, opposing environmental
regulations and undoing Obama's health care
reform law, among other policies. But before the
tea party and Obama, Cain worked with AFP on
more local issues.
In 2006, he
campaigned all over Wisconsin in support of a
proposed constitutional amendment that would
have limited state government spending. A slew
of officials and analysts said the plan would
have ultimately devastated government services,
and the Republican-controlled Legislature
eventually backed off it.
statement announcing Cain's tour, AFP sent out a
press release touting his "in-depth
understanding of the battle to control
out-of-control government taxes and spending."
Block promised that Cain was a speaker that
activists would not want to miss.
Cain 2012 Campaign
huffingtonpost.com Sepeculatron June 24, 2011
Herman Cain spent most
of his week being pissily miffed at someone or another.
really getting sick of everyone
asking about his stance on discriminating against
Muslim-Americans on the
grounds that there are other people in the world who
adhere to quasi-Islamic terrorist death cults, and
nobody of any other race or religion has ever threatened
the U.S. government or its officials with violence.
I think it gets the attention it does because right now,
Cain's one bonafide "plan" is to exclude Muslims from
government. On all other matters, his "plan" is to "get
some people" and "do some planning." Maybe once he does
that, reporters will have a second Cain plan to talk
Cain's conniption fits aren't limited to reporters
asking about one of the few remarkable features of his
promised reign. He is
clearly mad that reporters
keep writing down the words he says to people and
subsequently going and telling other people the things
he said, verbatim. He is, apparently, often "kidding"
about the stuff he tells people -- except for the whole
discriminating against a cross-section of American
Reporters, he says, are too
"nitpicky." That's his
word for it, by the way: "nitpicky." By pointing it out
to you, we are the nitpickiest of nitpickers.
He's also decided to "play
the race card" against
Jon Stewart, because Cain is the only political figure,
apparently, that Stewart is not allowed to lampoon or
criticize. Cain has said that he "does not care" about
what Stewart says or does, but that all comes after a
monologue where he works himself into a lather about it.
He should probably revisit his definition of caring or
not caring about something. Here's a hint: When you
"don't care" about "The Daily Show," you just say, "Oh,
what they say about me on 'The Daily Show' doesn't
matter to me."
For what it's worth, Cain is
also mad that Mitt Romney will be
skipping a debate in Las Vegas,
despite the fact that Mitt Romney has agreed to another
debate in Las Vegas, anyway.
Want to know what Cain loves, though? Regulatory
He loves nothing more than major
industries being overseen by themselves:
CAIN: The EPA is
the biggest barrier to more permits, more drilling,
more shale oil production. So I'm going to have a
regulatory reduction commission that I'm going to
appoint that's going to go in and determine how we
make things move faster. Some regulations we need.
I'm not anti-regulation. I'm just anti-too much
regulation. And the people on this commission are
going to be people who know something about coal,
oil, shale oil, natural gas, and they will be people
whose businesses or individuals who have been abused
by the EPA. If you've been abused by the EPA like
Shell Oil, I'm going to ask the CEO of Shell Oil
would he like to be on this commission, and give me
some recommendations. The people closest to the
problem are the ones who can solve the problem.
The CEO of Shell
Oil's first recommendation will be, "Let us poison the
air and water with pollution, please." Then Cain will
respond: "This will create jobs!"
The good news for Cain is that
pizza dudes who run for office are
having a moment this week!
suing the campaign for unemployment
benefits, Herman Cain's former Iowa straw
poll coordinator says the campaign attempted
to cover up the fact that they had a
prominent gay staffer.
Hall, the former straw poll coordinator, was
frustrated that Cain didn't spend enough
time in Iowa in the run-up to the straw
poll. He was also upset that the campaign
was covering up their employment of Scott
Toomey, Cain's PAC treasurer and a senior
aide until May of this year, when the
campaign told everyone Toomey was no longer
with them. Which wasn't quite true.
The AP has
Hall said he was not bothered by
Toomey's background but aides knew it
exposed Cain to charges of hypocrisy.
conservative candidate, Mr. Cain is on
the record as stating that he believes
homosexuality is a sin and a choice. And
they know that, if his top adviser, his
highly paid adviser, is openly gay that
it would cast a negative light on Mr.
Cain and would cost him in his efforts
to become president," he testified.
"Basically the campaign was trying to
cover up the fact that Mr. Toomey was
still involved. They asked ... me to
help them cover up that fact."
[Cain spokeswoman Ellen] Carmichael said
she's never spoken to Hall but
acknowledged instructing [former Cain
Iowa director Tina] Goff that Toomey "is
no longer a staffer, which was the 100
percent truth." She said Toomey left the
campaign's employment in May and he
later did work through a consulting firm
he formed. She said Toomey is no longer
a Cain staffer or consultant but "his
sexuality is not this campaign's
business" and not the reason for his
Hall testified that campaign manager
Mark Block told him June 29 the campaign
would conceal Toomey's continued
employment by paying his newly-formed
consulting firm so his name would not
show up in disclosure filings. Filings
with the Federal Election Commission
show Toomey, of Chicago, was last paid
salary from the campaign June 13. The
Soarin' Group, which Hall testified was
Toomey's firm, started receiving
payments the same month.
campaign seems to have decided to
disassociate itself with Toomey because of
the gay thing (or because of the
"hypocrisy"), and not because of the fact
that Toomey has a history of financial
shenanigans. While treasurer of the Madison
Pride Board, Toomney failed to pay bills and
didn't report "financial discrepancies."
When Madison Pride canned him, he moved to
Florida and eventually declared bankruptcy,
with $20,000 in legal judgments against his
promotional company. The Cain campaign
distanced itself from Toomey but continued
paying him to work for them, which indicates
more of a problem with him than with his
Cain did explicitly say that while a Herman
Cain administration will discriminate
against Muslims, he would have no problem
hiring a qualified gay person. But he will
apparently also hire gay people with
questionable qualifications and then
fake-fire them while keeping them secretly
employed in order to not upset anti-gay
people, too. That's true leadership.
for a while there a top Herman Cain staffer
was also a former organizer of the Madison
Pride Parade, what a world.
Do You Get The Feeling
That Cain-Mania Has Peaked?
off like a rocket in the campaign season's first GOP
debate in South Carolina, Herman Cain has not done much
to sustain the momentum, turning in two non-notable
debate performances right as Michele Bachmann and Mitt
Romney got into the fray in earnest. His light has not
shone as bright, what once looked original now plays
like campaign schtick, and it all ended in a rather
lackluster performance in the Ames Straw Poll, where
Cain finished fifth behind Bachmann, Paul, Pawlenty, and
The brave face that Cain is putting on all of this is
that he is now "Mr.
Fifth Place, Hooray!"
enthused to Fox News' Martha
McCallum: "I will
finish at number five in Iowa -- that's right where we
want to be....If we finish in the top five in New
Hampshire, Martha, we will be ecstatic, because we're
gonna put the same type of on the ground effort in New
Hampshire that we did in Iowa, and we're also working
South Carolina simultaneously."
We're not sure if Cain realizes that twin fifth place
finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire in January are the
sort of results that put you out of the presidential
race for good. The good news, though, is in the recent
Magellan poll in New Hampshire, Cain is sitting
in fifth place.
With 3% of the vote.
Tied with Jon Huntsman. That, combined with fourteen
bucks, will get you some Godfather's Pizza, and that's
about it. (Though there is a possibility that Cain gets
an employee discount.)
With his candidacy stuck in a rut, we suppose it's not
surprising that this week, just to garner some amount of
Cain decided to start gibbering
incoherently about maybe, you know, impeaching President
Barack Obama, because
it's not like anyone has anything better to do. "It
would be a great thing to do," Cain said. But why do it?
Oh, you know, the health care mandate...uhm...he's not
defending the Defense of Marriage Act...and, you know,
junk. This obviously makes a ton of sense: everyone who
opposes gay marriage should definitely impeach a
president who...also...doesn't support gay marriage.
Well, you know, Cain really needs some attention from
somebody for something, so there you go. Still, for a
guy who constantly talks about how the smartest way to
address America's myriad concerns is to "first make sure
you're working on the right problem," this doesn't make
Still, fifth place, woo.
Excerpts from an
article on alternet.org by
Adele M. Stan
June 7, 2011
GOP Hopeful Herman Cain: David Koch's Stalking Horse?
What goes unremarked in profiles of
Herman Cain is his connection to the Americans for
Prosperity Foundation, the organization founded by David
For Mark Block,
chief of staff for GOP presidential candidate Herman
Cain, it's been a good couple of weeks. In fact, it's
been a good couple of years -- years Block spent at the
helm of the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for
Prosperity, where he helped win election for the likes
of Gov. Scott Walker and Sen. Ron Johnson.
When, after those
and other successful efforts, Block left AFP in December
to run the quixotic presidential campaign of a former
fast-food magnate, political wags were scratching their
heads. But to those at the top of the Americans for
Prosperity heap, Block's charge to run Cain's campaign
may just be his most important job yet. For if Cain does
well enough in the GOP primaries to win more than a
handful of delegates to the Republican National
Convention next year, he could hold significant sway
over the party platform, forcing the nominated candidate
to run on the Koch agenda.
guffaws that greeted Cain's entry into the presidential
arena, Block's candidate is ascendant in the polls, even
this week in the New York Times, a newspaper
that people on Block's side of the fence sometimes refer
to as Pravda (the defunct state-run paper of
the Soviet Union). With his pugilistic sound
bites, business background, neo-libertarian
pronouncements, and anomalous status as African American
amid the ranks of the Tea Partiers, Cain has captured
media attention. Most recently, Cain made waves when
quoted him telling
an audience in Iowa, where the religious right holds
sway in the Republican presidential caucuses, that he
wouldn't hesitate to appoint an openly gay person to his
cabinet "because they're not going to try to put sharia
law in our laws."
unremarked in such profiles is Cain's connection to the
Americans for Prosperity Foundation, the organization
founded (with its sibling organization, Americans for
Prosperity) by David Koch, and chaired by Koch himself.
Until he signed on as Cain's campaign manager last
December, Block was state director for the Wisconsin
chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
Not only is
Cain a frequent speaker at AFP Foundation events, he was
also, by his own account, tapped by Block to be one of
the faces of Prosperity 101, a workplace seminar
program, designed for employers to present to their
employees at "voluntary" workplace gatherings where they
are told that the legislative initiatives typically
embraced by Democrats -- health-care reform, energy
reform, higher taxes for the wealthiest Americans --
could so hurt their employers as to force layoffs. The
program was set in motion during the lead-up to the 2010
elections. (AlterNet, working in collaboration with the
Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, published an
on Prosperity 101 last week.)
after Block sold Cain on Prosperity 101, Block was on a
roll. At a February 2010
Tea Party rally in Sheboygan
(video), Block told the audience that he wouldn't be
satisfied until membership in the Wisconsin AFP chapter
equaled the membership of the state teachers union, the
Wisconsin Education Association Council. Indeed, the
membership numbers for his AFP chapter were moving
upward, and the 2010 midterm elections were looking
competitive for a number of candidates who had earned
the favor of Americans for Prosperity: gubernatorial
contender Scott Walker, U.S. Senate candidate Ron
Johnson, and House of Representatives hopefuls Sean
Duffy and Reid Ribble. All of these candidates went on
to win their races, with Johnson, despite a notable
absence of charisma, defeating long-time Sen. Russell
Feingold, and Scott Walker going into the annals of
Wisconsin history for having ignited 18 days of protest
at the state capitol in Madison when he pushed a
virulently anti-union bill through the state legislature
in the guise of "budget repair."
without a doubt, a hard worker, but he's known not to
rely solely on the rewards of an honest day's labor. As
Walker's gubernatorial campaign unfolded, Block was
revealed to be one of the powers behind a
scheme to suppress the vote
in two Milwaukee congressional districts with the help
of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, then chaired by
Reince Priebus (who went on to become chairman of the
Republican National Committee).
In late 2010,
the liberal advocacy group,
One Wisconsin Now,
caught a Tea Party organizer on tape discussing Block's
role in a
apparently designed to suppress voter turnout in two
Milwaukee districts that are heavily populated by
college students and African Americans.
Vote-caging is a
technique whereby registered voters are sent letters
marked "do not forward" so letters that are
undeliverable at the residence to which they're
addressed bounce back to the sender. The returned
letters are then used by the sender to challenge the
votes of those individuals at her or his polling place,
meaning that person can only vote on a provisional
ballot. The letters were sent by Block's Americans for
Prosperity chapter, many to dormitory addresses in
August -- a time when students would likely be between
At first, Block
denied any involvement in the scheme, until Tim Dake of
the Tea Party group, Grandsons of Liberty, told the
Milwaukee Sentinel that he had personally spoken to
Block about it. Block then conceded that AFP had done
the mailing, but said they had abandoned the effort when
too few letters were returned.
vote-caging scheme hardly marks Block's first game of
dirty politics. In fact, his first day at Americans for
Prosperity marked the expiration of a four-year ban on
political campaign involvement imposed on him by a
Wisconsin court for his illegal activity in a 2001
triumph as campaign manager for Judge Jon Wilcox's
successful run for state Supreme Court was tempered by a
$15,000 fine for illegally using an outside group, the
Wisconsin Citizens for Voter Participation, to conduct
circles, one will hear talk, from time to time, of the
"Colorado model" -- the means by which liberals and
progressives began to turn Colorado from a red state to
a blue state in 2004. The model involves wealthy donors
who fund "independent expenditure" television ads
against the positions of an opposing candidate, and the
building of an infrastructure of progressive
organizations that facilitates coalition organizing. In
2008, Wisconsin progressives embarked on a similar
course, delivering their swing state for Barack Obama.
Not to be outdone,
the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity
hatched its own alliance in 2009 called the Wisconsin
Prosperity Network, which came to life as a sort of
coalition-in-a-box. With an estimated startup pot of
$6.4 million, the initial plan called for the instant
creation of 14 new entities that would work together
with the Wisconsin chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
When a leaked
PowerPoint presentation, obtained by One Wisconsin Now,
found its way into the hands of the Wisconsin State
Journal, Block conceded to reporter Mark Pitsch that he
was the network's "main organizer." Among the new
entities created for the network is the MacIver
Institute, a right-wing think tank, on whose board sits
Scott Jensen, a former state assembly speaker now facing
trial for using taxpayer funds for personal expenses.
proponent of Scott Walker's union-busting bill, the
Wisconsin Prosperity Network sponsored, with Americans
for Prosperity, a "Stand With Walker" campaign during
the days of protests earlier this year -- busing in Tea
Partiers to rallies, and launching
Web sites and
protests, MacIver was exposed for misrepresenting one of
its allies as a progressive activist, releasing a video
in which a purported protester said a labor-allied
doctor was writing fraudulent sick-day excuses for
protesting workers. That "protester,"
according to karoli,
a blogger at the liberal Web site Crooks and Liars,
turned out to be video producer Christian Hartsock, who
made his name working with James O'Keefe on the
discredited video that was used to fatally smear the
community organizing group, ACORN.
The Answer to ACORN
At last year's
RightOnline conference, an event sponsored by the
Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Wisconsin
Prosperity Network executive director Linda Hansen
unveiled before a roomful of activists at a Las Vegas
hotel her latest project, Prosperity 101, the
employer-sponsored workplace seminar program that
advances the Koch agenda to nervous workers. On hand for
the presentation was Herman Cain, along with Wall Street
Journal Web columnist John Fund, whose colleague,
editorial board member Stephen Moore, is, with Cain, a
spokesperson for the program.
"A key component of
Prosperity 101 is working with employers to help them
encourage voter registration among their employees,"
Hansen explained to the crowd. "So when Herman [Cain]
first heard the concept here, he said, 'You've come up
with the answer to ACORN!'"
Cain, during his
presentation, piped up, "when [Hansen] first came to me
with Mark Block to explain the concept, I said, ‘This is
When I tried to
learn more about the Prosperity 101 program -- which is
used by two of the top 50 privately held corporations in
the U.S.: Menard Inc. and Reinhart FoodService, a
division of Reyes Holdings -- my emails to Hansen went
unanswered. When I told a member of the Americans for
Prosperity staff that I couldn't get through to Hansen,
she suggested I talk to Mark Block, who did not return
my call or respond to my email.
As chance would
have it, I ran into Block last February in the lobby of
the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., site of
the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, at
which Cain delivered a well-received speech. When I
asked him for a few words about Prosperity 101, Block
told me I'd have to talk with the people who were
organizing it. When I said I had been directed to him by
Americans for Prosperity, he looked down at his
BlackBerry and walked away.
A Stalking Horse?
Go to the
issues page of the Herman Cain for President Web site,
and you'll find an agenda not unlike that of Americans
for Prosperity -- in fact, almost exactly like that of
Americans for Prosperity (save for military might, and
"faith and family," items on which AFP does not appear
to take a position). At the centerpiece of Cain's
platform, according to the New York Times, is a
23-percent flat consumption tax, which Cain would
implement in place of the federal income tax. Here's a
page from the Illinois AFP chapter
site that opines for just such a flat-tax scheme as
advanced by the Wall Street Journal's Stephen
Moore, Cain's partner in the AFP-linked Prosperity 101
week, Cain is scheduled to speak at an
AFP event in New York,
where he is expected to inveigh against the
carbon-trading scheme known as cap-and-trade that is
part of the Obama energy plan and one of AFP's pet
peeves. (Koch Industries' core business is in the gas
and oil sector.)
presidential candidacy was launched, it's likely that
his AFP-linked backers never expected he would win the
GOP presidential nomination, but that he would make an
effective messenger for pushing the party further to the
Koch positions. As it looks now, Cain could do even
better than that, given the weak GOP presidential field.
With each contest in primary season, contenders win
delegates to the national convention, where the party
platform is laid. Cain will likely do well in New
Hampshire -- he could even win the state, as Patrick J.
Buchanan did with his populist rhetoric in 1996. And
with that win, and strong showings in a few other
states, the Buchananites won control of the GOP
platform, causing the legitimate candidate, Bob Dole, to
run on a platform he could hardly stomach.
That may have lost
the GOP the election, but it distilled the party into an
even more right-wing body by the time it was George W.
Bush's turn to bear the party standard. When the history
of the 2016 presidential campaign is written, the role
of Herman Cain and his consigliare, Mark Block, may
prove to have been, to borrow a word from Cain --
Excerpts from an article by
on motherjones.com Mon May. 23, 2011
IS HERMAN CAIN?
was born December 13, 1945 and is an American businessman,
political activist, columnist, and
radio host from
Georgia. He is best
known as the former chairman and
Godfather's Pizza. He
is a former deputy chairman (1992–94) and chairman (1995–96) of the civilian
board of directors to the
Federal Reserve Bank
of Kansas City. Before his business and economics career he worked as a
ballistics for the
United States Navy. Cain's newspaper column is distributed by
North Star Writers Group.
He lives in the
In January 2011, Cain announced
he had formed an exploratory committee for a potential presidential campaign
presidential nomination in
2012, and on May 21,
2011, Cain officially announced his candidacy.
Cain was born in Memphis,
Tennessee on December 13, 1945, the son of Lenora (née Davis) and Luther
Cain, Jr. His mother was a cleaner and his father was a chauffeur. He was
raised in Georgia. He graduated from
Morehouse College in
1967 with a
Bachelor of Arts
Master of Science
computer science from
Purdue University in
1971, while he was also working full-time in
ballistics for the
U.S. Department of the Navy.
Cain has authored four books: Leadership is Common Sense (1997),
Speak as a Leader (1999), CEO of SELF (October 2001), and They
Think You're Stupid (May 2005).
After completing his master's
degree from Purdue, Cain left the Department of the Navy and began working
The Coca-Cola Company
as a business analyst. In 1977, he joined
Pillsbury where he
rose to the position of vice president by the early 1980s. He left his
executive post to work for
Burger King – a
Pillsbury subsidiary at the time – managing 400 stores in the Philadelphia
area. Under Cain's leadership, his region went from the least profitable for
Burger King to the most profitable in three years. This prompted Pillsbury
to appoint him president and CEO of
another of their then-subsidiaries. Within 14 months, Cain had returned
Godfather's to profitability. In 1988, Cain and a group of investors bought
Godfather's from Pillsbury. Cain continued as CEO until 1996, when he
resigned to become CEO of the
National Restaurant Association
– a trade group and lobby organization for the restaurant industry – where
he had previously been chairman concurrently with his role at Godfather's.
Cain became a member of the board
of directors to the
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
in 1992 and served as its chairman from January 1995 to August 1996, when he
resigned to become active in national politics. Cain was a 1996 recipient of
Horatio Alger Award.
Cain hosted The Herman Cain
Show on Atlanta talk radio station
News Talk 750 WSB, a
Cox Radio affiliate
until February 2011 and serves as a commentator for
Fox Business and a
distributed by the North Star Writers Group. In 2009, Cain founded
"Hermanator's Intelligent Thinkers Movement" (HITM), aimed at organizing
100,000 activists in every congressional district in the United States in
support of a strong national defense, the
FairTax, tax cuts,
energy independence, capping government spending, and Restructuring
Role in the defeat of the Clinton health care plan
Cain publicly opposed the
1993/1994 health care plan
Bill Clinton and
Hillary Rodham Clinton.
While president-elect of the National Restaurant Association he challenged
Bill Clinton on the costs of the employer mandate contained within the bill,
criticizing its effect on small businesses. Cain has been described as one
of the primary "saboteurs" of the plan:
The Clintons would later blame
"Harry and Louise," the fictional couple in the ads aired by the insurance
industry, for undermining health reform. But the real saboteurs are named
Herman and John. Herman Cain is the president of Godfather's Pizza and
president-elect of the National Restaurant Association. An articulate black
entrepreneur, Cain transformed the debate when he challenged Clinton at a
town meeting in
Kansas City, Mo.,
1996 Senior Adviser of Dole/Kemp Campaign
Cain was a senior economic adviser to
the Dole/ Kemp presidential campaign in 1996.
2004 U.S. Senate
In 2004, Cain ran for the
U.S. Senate in
Georgia, pursuing the seat that came open with the retirement of
Zell Miller. Cain
sought the Republican nomination, facing congressmen
Johnny Isakson and
Mac Collins in the
primary. Cain and Collins both hoped to deny Isakson a majority on primary
day in order to force him into a runoff.
Collins tried to paint Cain as a moderate, citing Cain's support for
programs, while Cain argued that he was a conservative, noting that he
opposed the legality of
abortion even in
incest. Cain finished
second in the primary with 26.2% of the vote, ahead of Collins, who won
20.6%, but because Isakson won 53.2% of the vote, Isakson was able to avoid
In 2010, "Cain addressed more
Tea Party rallies,
hit all the early presidential states, and became a
In April, he teased the audience at the
Southern Republican Leadership Conference
about his being a possible
candidate by saying that there may be a "dark horse candidate." On September
24, 2010, Cain announced that he was considering a run for
president in 2012 on
"In December, he was the surprise choice for 2012 GOP nominee in a reader
poll on the conservative Web site
narrowly edging out
Cain announced the formation of a
presidential exploratory committee
on January 12, 2011 on the Fox News Channel program
Your World with Neil Cavuto.
Cain supports a non-federally
subsidized efficient economic stimulus, saying: "We could grow this economy
faster if we had bolder, more direct stimulus policies," criticizing
stimulus plan as simply a "spending bill" instead of meaningful stimulus
through permanent tax cuts.
In December 2010,
Jonah Goldberg of the
wrote of Cain: "it’s hard to imagine him amounting to more than an exciting
In February 2011, Cain addressed
Conservative Political Action Conference
(CPAC). Ed Morrisey of the conservative website
Hot Air said he
"stole the show" and that some attendees were moved to tears by the speech.
In contrast, liberal website
AlterNet accused Cain
of pandering to white conservatives and referred to him and other
as "garbage pail kids". Cain called the news website's attacks
racist and condemned
its "shameful behavior".
Following a number of comments
made by Cain regarding his attitudes toward Muslim people, he was asked in
March 2011 if he would feel comfortable appointing a Muslim to his
administration or as a Judge. Cain said "No, I will not ... There's this
creeping attempt, there's this attempt, to gradually ease Shariah Law, and
the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government"
and he went on to cite court cases in Oklahoma and New Jersey as evidence.
This led to criticisms of "bigotry" and "muslim bashing" from
spokesperson stated "It would be laughable if it weren't having such a
negative impact on the lives of Muslim Americans".
On May 5, 2011
Fox News presented a
presidential campaign debate. Cain was one of five potential candidates who
participated. (The others were
Gary E. Johnson and
Rick Santorum as the
higher-profile candidates declined Fox's invitation.) Cain was declared the
winner by pollster
Frank Luntz after a
show of hands among 29 debate witnesses who were chosen by Fox to act as a
post-performance focus group.
Cain believes economic growth can be
achieved by implementing policies that emphasize less legislation, less
regulation, lower taxes, and business friendly policies in other words the
same policies that dropped the US into the recession its in.
Cain supports lowering the corporate
tax rates from 35 to 25 percent, eliminating the capital gains tax, and
suspending taxes on repatriated foreign profits. He also supports
elimination of the estate tax.
Cain is a strong supporter of the
Fair Tax, which would
replace all federal personal and corporate income taxes with a national
consumption tax. A consumption tax taxes the middle class and poor since the
Rich don't spend nerely as much per capita.
Cain supported the
Troubled Asset Relief Program
(TARP) bank bailouts as a way to save the economy, viewing it as an
investment opportunity for the taxpayers. In a 2008 editorial, Cain wrote,
"Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could
make a profit while solving a problem.". In May 2011, regarding his TARP
support, Cain said "I don’t have any regrets".... "I studied the situation.
I didn’t have trouble with the idea; I had trouble with its implementation,
picking winners and losers."
In early 2011, Cain stated on his
radio show that there was no need for an audit of the Federal Reserve (Cain
objected to auditing the Federal Reserve in 2010 while hosting the
Neal Boortz show).
Cain has clarified, however, that while such an audit is not a high priority
for him, neither does he object to it.
Cain announced his support of the
gold standard on a
radio program in late 2010:
"Yes I believe in the gold standard. We
should have never gotten off the gold standard because when we got off the
gold standard, that then allowed Congress to inflate our currency whenever
they overspent. Now look at the mess that we have."
In an interview with
Cain stated, "Programs today are designed to make people more dependent
rather than less dependent."
Cain favors a position of reforming the
current system, but not privatizing it.
In an interview with
Cain declared he would not consider appointing an individual of
Muslim faith to a
presidential cabinet or to a federal court. "No, I will not", he said. "And
here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to
Sharia law and the
Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This
is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically
correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now
they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly."
pro-life and opposes
abortion. He believes
that life begins at
conception. He favors
Cain believes that education is vital
to success and favors performance incentives for teachers. Cain also favors
vouchers and charter school systems.
Energy and the Environment
Cain favors offshore drilling and
favors drilling in
ANWR. He favors
allowing consumers to choose alternative energy sources such as solar and
wind through the private market instead of the government dictating who will
be the economic winners and losers.
Cain favors repealing the
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Cain favors allowing the free market to play the largest role in health
Cain believes that the US-Mexico border
must be secured. He believes in allowing illegal immigrants living in the US
to go through the traditional citizenship process.
Cain believes that marriage is
between a man and a woman and is against legalizing
same-sex marriage. He
Defense of Marriage Act
Supreme Court Justices
Cain favors appointed
Justices that would
abide by the Constitution and not make any rules. He has expressed support
Antonin Scalia and
He believes that any gun permit law
must be dealt with at the state level.
He supports Israel and believes that
the US should aid Israel in defending itself. After President Obama said
that the starting point of negotiations for peace between the Israelis and
the Palestinians should be based on the 1967 borders, Cain said, "I was
shocked at the president’s position, and I was equally shocked that he would
unilaterally suggest that Israel would move the borders back which they
acquired 44 years ago. This president threw Israel under the bus, there is
no way around it. It demonstrates once again the arrogant disregard of this
president for the opinion of the American people who like the relationship
we have with Israel, and for Israel having the right to make its own
Cain favors a diplomatic approach to
nuclear disarmament. He believes that Iran is a threat to Israel.
Cain opposes any form of appeasement to
the US's enemies. He believes that the number one priority for the US is to
keep its citizens safe.
Cain opposed the
New START treaty
because he believes that the US gave up too much.
In 2006, Cain was diagnosed with
Stage IV cancer in
colon and his
liver. Cain underwent
following the diagnosis, and has since reported that he is cancer-free.
Cain has shared first-hand accounts of
racial discrimination. In a YouTube video uploaded by his campaign, he
describes the experience of sitting behind the white/black demarcation on
buses. He also talks about the experience of taking turns with his brother,
standing watch as each took a drink from the "white" side of a segregated
water fountain in a department store.
In this video, Cain explains that he
does not embrace the concept of the "African-American". He says, "When
people try to label me, I very quickly point out that I am an American
first, black second, and I'm a conservative. So, I'm an ABC."
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