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Herman Cain: 2012 GOP Contender Bold With Words

Laura Walsh |
May 5, 2011 | 5:39 a.m. PDT

Senior Staff Reporter

Herman Cain speaks to a crowd
Herman Cain speaks to a crowd

If you haven’t heard of Herman Cain, affectionately self-dubbed “The Hermanator,” your vote in the 2012 presidential election could still be entirely valuable, but you are missing out on all the broad assumptions, heedless criticisms, and unfiltered slurs one might expect of the gregarious radio personality and Tea Party favorite. 

The 65-year-old African American told reporters at an Americans for Tax Reform lunch that “Being politically correct is not one of my strengths.”  

It's an understatement considering his most recent bout with the media concerns what most citizens would term offensive remarks like: “Based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them,” which he said in an interview to Christianity Today.  

He clarified this statement in a Thinkprogress video by assuring that he would absolutely not appoint a Muslim in his cabinet or as federal judge because “there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government.” 

This complaint should not be confused as a strict adherence to the values of separating Church and State. The Christian conservative wrote in “Christmas and Hanukkah: Deal With It,” one of his many op-ed column entries that “Too many Americans are guided and implicitly threatened by the misinterpretations of the Constitution’s establishment clause that found a non-existent ‘separation of church and state.” He encouraged readers to “Go ahead, and call the politically correct police” if they had a problem.

 Cain's remarks have become viral sensations across the Internet. There's Cain’s belief that Planned Parenthood was “put in black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world," which he stated at a Q&A session at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. Or that the energy crisis is the response of “gutless officials” who are “overreacting to the concerns of environmentalists,” an opinion he made clear in a piece on oil dependence. He also concluded at a Tea Party event that Democrats are scared that “a real black man might run against Barack Obama.”  While these ideas are already resonating with Tea Party and conservative voters, Cain’s real grounds for the presidency come from his extensive business experience.

 Best known for being the chairman of Godfather's Pizza for 15 years, Cain has many people attuned to his criticism of Obama despite his own lack of political experience.

 “I remind people that the people running Washington D.C. have held public office,  how’s that working for them?  Barack Obama spent most of his life either in politics, academia, or going to school," Cain said in an interview with Shark Tank. "I have a forty year business career.”

 During this time, Cain worked at Coca-Cola and Burger King, became Vice President of Pillsbury, and transformed Godfather’s Pizza from a failing company to one that saw blooming profits. It is no surprise that he is running on the platform that he will “turn this economy around” by supporting the Fair Tax system, bringing the capital gains tax rate to zero and lowering the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.  The goal, he says, is to “truly stimulate the growth of the economy.”

 Javier Manjarres, who won the Dopey 2011 CPAC blog of the year, says it is Cain’s business background that is resonating with the people suffering from a bad economy with no jobs.

 “If Obama can be president with very little political experience, then so can Herman Cain who does not have any, but has more important real world business experience - something Obama will never have," Manjarres said.

 Cain has worked extensively in the business world, and is best known for being hailed by the LA Times as the saboteur of Clinton’s health care plan in 1994, when he upset the Clinton's business calculations with his own on national television.  

Despite this brief moment in the political spotlight however, Cain’s experience-deficit in the political world leaves a long climb to presidency.  Calling his politics essentially the same as those of Sarah Palin and approving of Donald Trump’s incessant call for the Obama's birth certificate, Cain has managed to take the Tea Party advocations that are least settling with the mainstream and color them with an entertaining and controversial character.

Reach reporter Laura Walsh here.




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