An American success story and tea-party favorite who could be Obama’s “worst nightmare” tells WND he will make a “very important announcement” to the nation in less than 48 hours.
“I feel God’s hand in this decision that I’m going to announce on Saturday, May 21, in Atlanta at Centennial Olympic Park at high noon,” Herman Cain, an Atlanta radio talk-show host, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and 2004 Senate seeker, told WND. “We’re expecting more than 5,000 people to be there at the announcement rally.”
An invitation on his presidential exploratory committee website notes that Cain will share “his final decision about a potential run for the White House in 2012.” His announcement will be broadcast live on his website.
Hinting at a launch of a 2012 campaign, Cain said, “People are starting to see through the broken promises, the failed policies and lack of leadership of President Obama.
“Americans will do a double take when they hear me talk about my common-sense solutions – they are going to say what thousands of people have said over the past several months: He makes sense. He makes it clear. He gives solutions, and he’s not afraid to lead. That’s what people want to see.”
Cain speaks at Take Back Our Government rally on Oct. 29, 2010
Will Obama meet his match?
In an exclusive July 2010 interview, Cain, a devout Christian, disclosed to WND that he has been “prayerfully considering” a bid for the GOP nomination. He also said he would “take the race card off the table” in a challenge against Obama as the GOP presidential candidate in 2012.
“We need a realistic candidate to run on the Republican ticket who can beat Barack Obama – not just beat the Democrats,” Cain said. “We’ve also got to beat Barack Obama.”
He added, “Obama is a master of rhetoric. He is a master of deceptive language. And any white candidate who runs against him will be up against the race card. I take the race card off the table.”
As WND reported, Cain recently wowed a focus group of 29 likely GOP voters assembled by pollster Frank Luntz following a May 5 Republican presidential debate in South Carolina.
Even Luntz said the reaction of the group was unprecedented in its unanimity – Cain won. Most of those participating in the focus group had no previous familiarity with Cain. Only one of those bowled over by Cain watched the debate with intention of voting for him.
The following is a video of the focus group’s reaction to the debate:
Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann skipped the debate. The event included former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson in addition to Cain.
After talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh watched the South Carolina debate, he declared to his listeners, “Herman Cain made me think I was listening to me in every answer.”
“The debate was absolutely a catalyst,” Cain told WND. “Our online volunteers and online contributions increased significantly. The media requests have also increased significantly. A lot of people already knew who I was, especially when they read my articles, but after they saw me live on that Fox News debate, things have been going up exponentially ever since.”
Cain blew the competition away once again, receiving 28 percent of more than 2,300 votes, in a recent WND poll that asked, “Who’s your choice for Republican presidential nominee in 2012?” Ron Paul came in second, garnering 13 percent, while Sarah Palin, Allen West and Michele Bachmann each received 7 percent of the votes. Donald Trump, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich each received 4 percent or less.
Top 10 results of WND poll on readers’ choice for Republican presidential nominee in 2012
In addition to serving as the former president and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza for 10 years, Cain, 64, is also former president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association and former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. He’s been vice president of Burger King, vice president of Pillsbury Company, a mathematician for the U.S. Department of the Navy and a business analyst for Coca-Cola. He has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University.
‘The Hermanator’ on boosting the economy
Cain proposed the following five-point plan to provide an economic boost to the economy:
1) “Lower corporate and individual tax rates. Lower tax rates work, regardless of the poisonous rhetoric that liberals use to make people believe that only the rich benefit from lower tax rates. Lower the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, because we’re the only nation in the world that has not. Also, lower individual tax rates. It’s the same proposal that’s contained in Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan – which probably won’t go anywhere, so I’ll still have time to do this when I become president.
Herman Cain addresses tea-party crowd
2) “Take capital-gains tax rates to zero.
3) “Suspend taxes on repatriated foreign profits. There’s an estimated nearly $1 trillion that could come back into this economy. The last time it was done by President Bush back in 2003, nearly $350 billion came back to this economy.
4) “For one year, provide a real payroll tax holiday for workers and employers – not this piddly 2 percent that Congress approved at the end of the last session that most people never even noticed – the full 6.2 percent that the employee pays and the full 6.2 percent that the employer pays. This is not an original idea. I just extended the idea. Rep. Louis Gohmert of Texas first proposed this when Obama first took office. As usual, the Obama administration and the Democrats ignored any proposal that would allow people to keep more of their own money and that would allow businesses to keep more of the money that they generate.
5) “Make those rates permanent. The lack of permanency on tax rates – which we don’t have now – creates uncertainty over this economy which further discourages economic growth because it discourages businesses from investing and taking risks in order to create jobs.”
“That would be Phase 1. Those steps represent a direct boost to the economy, not indirect stimulus, as they call it, which has not worked,” Cain said. “When we stimulate the economy and also take a machete – a ‘Cain machete’ – to spending, then we will be getting the dollar back up. We will be putting people back to work. We will have this economy growing again in the way it is capable of growing.”
As part of what he called Phase 2, Cain said he would seek total replacement of the tax code in the second half of his first term as president. Instead, he would call for a FairTax, a national sales tax that would replace all federal income and payroll-based taxes.
“I’ve been a proponent of the FairTax for the last several years,” he said. “When people attack the FairTax, they play upon people’s ignorance. They basically change the assumptions that are built into the legislation. I didn’t just read a short article about the FairTax. I have studied and talked about the FairTax for more than 10 years. That would take some time, and it wouldn’t happen right away.”
Herman Cain speaks at a May 2010 Fair Tax rally in Duluth, Ga.
Herman’s energy-independent America
Cain said he and his team of advisers have already begun to develop a workable energy-independence plan.
“Here’s why that is so critical: Our dependence on foreign oil has increased since the early ’70s from a little over 20 percent to now almost 70 percent,” he explained. “That makes the United States of America vulnerable economically and national security-wise.”
Joel Franusic, Flickr
Cain referenced studies that have shown that when gas hits an average of $4 per gallon, Americans begin moving discretionary dollars from other parts of their budgets to pay for fuel.
“That will further suppress the economy,” he said. “It pushed the little economic growth that we do have down, which in the first quarter was about 1.8 percent GDP growth. All of last year was about 2.5 or 2.6 GDP percent growth.
“That’s anemic when you consider that the Chinese are growing at 10 percent compounded per year. So, as energy becomes more expensive, it also slows down what little economic growth we’re going to have.”
The U.S. could see a double-dip recession if gas prices continue to rise and hit $6 per gallon, Cain warned.
“That’s why an energy independence plan is so critical,” he said. “The Congressional Research Service recently issued a report stating that if we were to maximize all of our existing resources – oil, natural gas, shale oil, coal – we could become an energy-independent nation for 50 years!”
The government’s regulatory barriers are holding the nation back, Cain argued, adding, “The mere fact that we’d have a serious plan to announce to the world and the energy market would cause speculators to stop speculating up and to start speculate down while we develop our resources over the next 10 years to decrease our dependence on foreign oil instead of allowing it to continue to go up.
“The frustrating thing is – and the American people understand this – we have the resources to do it. We just don’t have the leadership to get it done. I would get it done.”
Fix nation’s entitlement programs
Cain said he believes the U.S. must also restructure its entitlement programs.
“Let’s start with the biggest one people don’t like to talk about: Social Security,” he said, advocating a plan similar to a Chilean model, called an optional Personal Retirement Account system.
He said workers younger than 40 would have the option to put half of their Social Security contributions toward existing Social Security benefits and the other half into a personal retirement account.
“Nobody close enough to Social Security would lose their benefits because they don’t have long enough to develop their own account,” he explained. “Then you take the other half of the payroll tax contributions and put it in a self-directed personal retirement account with certain requirements – like a 401K, but it’s not a 401K – and allow it to grow until you retire.”
He said his plan would allow individuals to keep their own dollars in their own pockets.
“What a novel idea! You worked for it,” Cain declared. “You invest it and save it for retirement. It’s got your name on it, rather than allowing the government to steal the money for now and keep delaying the retirement age, raising the tax rate and decreasing the benefits. I can sell that idea to the American public.”
Cain’s 4-point immigration plan
Cain outlined his four-part plan to deal with the nation’s illegal immigration crisis:
1) “Secure the border.
2) “Enforce the laws that are already there, and make it easy for companies to hire legal workers.
3) “Promote the path to citizenship that’s already there. We don’t need a new one. We just need to clean up the bureaucracy that slows the current one down.
Border “fence” separating U.S. from Mexico in San Diego, Calif.
4) “This is one I haven’t heard any candidate talk about: Deal with illegals who are already here and empower the states to do what the federal government won’t do, can’t do and has not done. It’s very simple: Take the federal immigration laws and just add a line in there that says, ‘or the state,’ and they will get it done. Empower the states. That’s not one you hear everybody talking about.
“What program have we micromanaged out of Washington, D.C., that actually has worked? I trust the states. I believe 45 of them are going to get it right. If the other five don’t get it right, they’re going to learn from the other 45. I would rather trust the 45 getting it right than trust the federal government because it has demonstrated that it cannot get it right.”
Time with the Federal Reserve
Cain has faced criticism from some conservatives for his service as deputy chairman (1992-1994) and chairman (1995-1996) of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, who this week launched his own 2012 campaign for president, has consistently sponsored bills calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve System, which prints and controls the dollar and sets associated interest rates. Paul also authored the 2009 book, “End the Fed.”
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
However, Cain told WND those who are troubled by his time at the Fed should do some research on the subject.
“They need to go back and look at how the Fed performed in the decade of the ’90s when I was on the Fed board,” he said. “I’m not on the Fed board now.”
He continued, “Secondly, if that’s going to be the single disqualifier for people not voting for me, then they are certainly going to pick the wrong person to be president of the United States. Do you want to know why? Because if you end the Fed – this is what Ron Paul wants to do – how many jobs is that going to create? How much energy independence is that going to create? How many immigration problems is that going to fix? How much spending is that going to take?
“I believe that we need to fix the Fed by tightening its mission to what it was back in the ’90s, not by ending the Fed.”
Cain said he is “proud” of the time he spent with the Federal Reserve in the ’90s “because we didn’t do a lot of the things that the Fed is doing today.”
“I’m not going to apologize for it just to pander to somebody to get their votes,” he said. “I don’t do pandering very well.”
Other important issues
Cain at an event with Fox News’ Glenn Beck
Cain told WND in July 2010 that he hoped the GOP would take control of the House of Representatives and start a process to repeal Obamacare.
On abortion, he didn’t waver or mince words when it came to his stance: “I believe life begins at conception, so I do not support abortion.”
Asked about his beliefs on homosexual “marriage,” Cain said his position is clear: “Marriage is between a man and a woman.”
On national security, Cain has championed strong military and defense spending that is never cut below 4 percent of GDP.
In his most recent column, “Shooting from the lip is not my style,” Cain explained why he hasn’t formulated a specific plan for the nation’s involvement in Afghanistan.
“To be clear, I want to be out of Afghanistan and all war-torn countries as much as the next person,” he wrote. “But I am not going to propose a half-baked plan based on half the information I would need to make the right decision, just to pretend I know everything.
“On the other hand, I do know enough about our solid relationship with Israel from decades of observations that I would make it even stronger, a move that isn’t just about dollars. And, I would not be hesitant to let the rest of the world know that we will stand by and with our friends.”
Will mainstream media vilify Cain?
Asked whether he believes the mainstream media will give him preferential treatment because he is a black candidate, just as they appeared to do with Obama during the 2008 campaign, Cain responded:
They are going to try and crucify this black guy. If somebody wants to try and play the race card with me or attack me because of my conservative views, I am going to handle that just fine. They are going to try and demonize me, find weaknesses in my agenda and weaknesses in my ideas because I’m conservative. They hate conservatives. I know they’re going to come after me. They’ve already started.
He said some members of the media have already contacted his pastor, hoping to find a radical spiritual leader in Cain’s past – much like President Obama’s former pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah Wright, who has reportedly made anti-American and racist statements.
“I don’t have any Jeremiah Wright pastors in my past,” Cain said. “My pastor has never said anything in the pulpit or out of the pulpit that I would ever be ashamed of, so I don’t have anything to worry about. He’s not going to give them an opportunity to do a hatchet job on something he might say.”
Will Republican Party welcome Cain?
A May 17 Gallup poll measured the “favorability ratings” of probable GOP candidates. Although Cain rated 29 percent in name recognition (the third-lowest ranking in the poll), his “positive intensity score,” or favorability rating among those who recognize his name, was 24 – higher than any other candidate in Gallup’s poll.
May 17, 2011, Gallup poll shows Cain with highest “positive intensity score” among potential GOP candidates.
Cain said he doesn’t think he’ll have a problem convincing establishment Republicans to accept him as a legitimate candidate.
“They are not going to reject me,” he said confidently. “They’re going to slowly warm up to me because I think they are starting to see that I’m creating a lot of excitement.”
At the Georgia Republican Convention on May 14, Cain was reportedly greeted with 10 standing ovations that dwarfed those given to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
“He defies the media’s idea of what a Republican is,” one delegate told the Southern Political Report. “He’s a black entrepreneur who speaks for everyone. That’s something people are warming up to. Plus, he hasn’t held [elective] office before, so he has no record that people can take issue with. He’s popular.”
On “The Rush Limbaugh Show” today, one caller told Limbaugh he is leaning toward voting for Herman Cain in the Republican primary.
“I don’t think anybody is a longshot right now,” Limbaugh responded. “There’s nothing that says Herman Cain can’t win this thing.”
But does Cain have what it takes to compete with Obama’s massive fundraising efforts?
As one supporter put it, “Obama might be raising $1 billion, but the voters in this country are going to raise some Cain.”