My 10 Minutes with Herman Cain – An All American Interview


My wife mentioned to me one evening that Herman Cain was going to be in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, January 8th to talk with a small group of people. So I e-mailed the organizer and next thing I know, I’m sitting down with The Hermanator for a 10 minute one-on-one interview.

So what brings you to Iowa?

We decided to stop in for a cup of coffee.

(Laughs)

No, soon we will be making a formal announcement about forming an exploratory committee, which as you know, is the first formal step that you make to determine if you can garner the support of people all over the country, get people to pledge financial support, and then just kind of test the general political environment for my chances of being competitive and win, if I decide to go forward.

The second reason is, as you know, Iowa is one of those early primary states, and they have maintained that distinction for decades and decades. In Iowa, like New Hampshire, candidates really get the chance to be vetted. This meeting that we had here today is a good example. They didn’t hold back. And in Iowa, you can’t just buy enough advertising and you’re going to win the caucuses. And so Iowa is special, not only because it’s an early primary state, but because the process that is used here is so unique that it truly forces candidates to be vetted as they begin to campaign the other states around the country.

You told Greta Van Susteren the chances of you running for President was 70%. Where does it stand now?

I told Greta then I was about 70%. I would say that now I’m about 75%.

On that same news channel, Juan Williams said, ““There’s nobody out there, except for Sarah Palin, who can absolutely dominate the stage, and she can’t stand on the intellectual stage with Obama.” What do you have to do to become a household name?

First of all, if I could get President Obama to the stage, I would welcome the opportunity to debate him. Here’s what I’m gonna do. Number one, get more TV exposure. We already have a plan to be able to do that.

Number two, continue to travel across this country like I have been doing for the past several months, even leading up to November 2.

I will get more exposure over the next several months because we have a definite plan as to how we are going to do that, but I’m not going to share that, because somebody might steal my plan.

(Laughs)

I was telling a friend of mine at work about you and he asked me how a person who had never been elected to office could win.

And there’s a professor at Mercer University who’s quoted in the Atlanta Journal Constitution this last week that said I didn’t stand a chance. So when I was doing an interview yesterday, somebody wanted to know, “What do you say to someone who says you don’t have a chance?”

I say, “Thank you.” Because that inspires me. I have been told that all my life. It doesn’t discourage me one bit.

Here’s why people say I don’t stand a chance.

One, they don’t understand an outside the box, untraditional model approach to running for office and getting elected. They don’t understand it.

Number two, they don’t fully appreciate the citizen’s movement that’s going on in this country. November 2nd was just an appetizer for what’s going to happen in November 2012. So the people who say Herman Cain doesn’t have a chance, they don’t understand that.

Here’s number three. I have a natural constituency from my business career from all of the organizations I have been a part of, in terms of a grass roots organization, already, quite frankly. The National Restaurant Association, restaurateurs all over the country know me, know who I am, they still remember me. I’ve been very active in the FairTax organization. Those people know me. They don’t say, “Who’s Herman Cain?” Then you’ve got Americans for Prosperity. I’m well known in those circles. I’m well known in the Tea Party circles.

So I am well known by grass roots activists, which I believe right now is a strength for me. And so, when they say he doesn’t have a chance, they just don’t understand those dynamics.

I was taught that good judgment comes from experience, and experience is the result of bad judgment. The current president had next to no experience, and we are all witnessing his education. What is it in your background that makes you the best choice in the primaries, and the better choice in the national?

I have for over forty years, in business, seen and experienced both good judgment and bad judgment. What you learn over time is to recognize the bad judgment before it gets there and destroys you. My business experience in terms of problem solving and leadership, selecting good people to work with, putting together a team, inspiring a good team to do the things that we need to do, I believe that that experience is directly transferable to the office of the president.

I have been in situations where I have had big problems, big issues, had to deal with them, had to figure out how to get my hands around them, so I’ve had experience solving problems. I believe the people in this country will support, and are looking for, a problem solving president, not a politician. I believe that the people in this country will get outside that traditional box of, “Well, has he ever held a public office before?” A lot of people are glad I’ve never had a public office before.

And here’s the other thing, I will be the people’s president, not the politician’s. And what I mean by that is, I will use the bully pulpit to not only inform and educate the public, but also activate the public. We’ve seen that in the Tea Party movement. When the public gets activated, and empowered, and contacts their representatives, we get results. That’s why I say November 2nd was just an appetizer for what’s going to happen in November 2012.

The focus right now is on the economy. What do you think of what is being done now, and how will you tackle the problem if you are elected?

President Obama and the Democrats are trying to tickle this economy. They’re not stimulating it, they’re trying to tickle it. The tax rates extension should have been permanent. They should have lowered the corporate tax rate. That’s what I would have done differently. I would have provided a payroll tax holiday for employee and employers and I would not have stopped at two percentage points. I would have suspended the payroll tax for an entire year. That would have put direct dollars back in the hands of workers, consumers, direct dollars back on the P&Ls of employers. That would have helped get this economy going.

I would have also fought to get the capital gains tax rate lowered to zero. In other words, there are a number of things that we could do to supercharge this economy. Cutting taxes and allowing money to go back into the hands of workers and employers just isn’t in the DNA of these liberals. They have demonstrated that their whole philosophy is, “Big government. More government. Higher taxes. Less individual responsibility.”

Mine would be totally the opposite.

What is the biggest threat to America right now?

Terrorism. We are more vulnerable than I would like to imagine. I don’t think our intelligence agencies at Homeland Security completely have their hands around some of the threats to this country. That would be a priority I would look at to find out “What else can we do?”.

One of the reasons I feel nervous about it is because of the way they are handling the TSA. I mean, where is the common sense? The answer is, if there’s no common sense in something as simple as security screening at the airport, I’m afraid there might not be enough common sense in protecting us from terrorism.

That’s my biggest concern.

If elected, would you do me the favor of naming Neal Boortz as your press secretary?

(Laughs)

I would only need him to be press secretary for a week and that would be fun!

Cross posted at All American Blogger and Citizens 4 Cain.

Duane Lester

Duane Lester

Duane Lester is co-founder of All American Blogger, and the primary writer. Following graduation, Duane entered the United States Navy as a journalist. He spent five years touring the world, reporting on local news and sports. Following his enlistment, Duane spent almost 10 years working with adjudicated youth in residential treatment environments. Duane discovered politics after September 11. He credits Erich "Mancow" Muller for opening his eyes to his conservative beliefs. Since then, Duane has devoured books and literature on politics, reading everything he can from Adam Smith to Larry Elder to Thomas Sowell. He refers to his style of politics as "conserva-tarian", a mixture of conservative and libertarian beliefs.

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