Sharon Bialek

Herman Cain presidential campaign, 2012

Friends of Herman Cain
Herman Cain 2012.png
Campaign U.S. presidential election, 2012
Candidate Herman Cain of Georgia
Radio talk-show host
Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
Affiliation Republican Party
Status Suspended, December 3, 2011
Headquarters Stockbridge, Georgia
Key people Mark Block (chief of staff)
Dan Tripp (national field director)
Jeffrey D. Gordon (vice president for communications)
Rich Lowrie, Charles Kadlec (economic advisers)
C. Everett Koop (health issues adviser)
Receipts US$5 million (Sept. 30, 2011 (Suspended Dec. 3, 2011))
Slogan Let's get Real
Theme song I Am America by Krista Branch (video)

Herman Cain of Georgia, a businessman, radio host, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Omaha Branch, former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, and former United States Senate candidate, began a campaign for the 2012 Republican Party nomination for President of the United States shortly after the 2010 midterm elections.

Although he was frequently mentioned as a possible candidate, Cain stopped short of a full-fledged candidacy before the beginning of 2011. Although he was characterized as "inexperienced", and a Washington outsider, as of October 19, 2011, polls showed him to be one of the front runners in the Republican primaries.

Cain spent a considerable amount of time campaigning throughout the early primary states (particularly Iowa and New Hampshire) for most of 2010.

Nearly two weeks after the beginning of the year, Cain filed his organization with the Federal Elections Commission as an exploratory committee, under the name Friends of Herman Cain.

Cain is a supporter of the Tea Party movement. He is in favor of the gold standard.

Cain ran as a Washington outsider and became a front-runner in the race in the fall of 2011. However, Cain's support plummeted after several women alleged that he had engaged in sexual harassment or, in one case, a 13-year extramarital affair. Cain and his wife unequivocally said the accusations were false, but Cain, citing the toll the allegations had taken on his family and his political support, suspended his campaign on December 3, 2011.

The campaign

Exploratory committee

Following the 2010 midterm elections, Cain announced his intentions to run for president in December 2010, stating that there is a 70% chance that he would attempt to seek the office. Following the New Year, Cain announced on January 12, 2011, on Your World with Neil Cavuto, that he had officially formed an exploratory committee, in order for him to travel and raise funds more effectively for a presidential run.

Official announcement

Cain formally announced his candidacy on May 21, 2011 in Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia to a crowd of 15,000 cheering supporters.

Campaign progress

Dark horse

Building momentum

On May 5, 2011 Fox News presented a presidential campaign debate. Cain was one of five potential candidates who participated. (The others were Tim Pawlenty, Ron Paul, Gary Johnson and Rick Santorum as the higher-profile candidates declined Fox's invitation.) Cain was declared the overwhelming 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.

On June 3, 2011, an Insider-Advantage poll showed Cain leading the field of Republican primary candidates among Georgia Republicans. A July 2011 Zogby poll showed Cain in second place nationally, with 18% of the vote, behind Michele Bachmann and ahead of Romney.

Cain finished fifth in the Iowa Straw Poll on August 13, 2011 with 8.6% of the vote. Cain said he was satisfied with the result, writing in an email to supporters, "I have said from the beginning that I would not buy a straw poll victory. We worked hard. We organized. We turned our supporters out to the Straw Poll. While I did not place 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, I am happy with our strong placing. I spent less money, had less name ID than the front runners, but our strong showing is evidence of the deep support for a non-politician problem solver who has the courage and conviction to change the way things work in Washington. I beat better known, better funded politicians...including those who have held titles like Governor and Speaker of the House."


As a follow up to a September 22, 2011, debate performance in Orlando, Florida, at which Cain received high marks from focus groups and pundits, Cain won the September 24 Florida GOP Presidency 5 Straw Poll with 37% of the votes cast by Republican party activists in attendance; Cain's nearest competitor was Rick Perry, who garnered the support of 15% of attendees at the event. A national interactive opinion survey released in September 2011 by IBOPE Zogby International showed Cain with a ten-point lead against the nearest competitor, Rick Perry, among likely 2012 Republican primary voters. "A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of Likely U.S. Voters finds that Obama earns 39% support while Cain attracts 34%". Rassmussen went on to say, "In a match-up against President Obama, just 61% of Republicans are ready to vote for Cain. Eighteen percent (18%) would prefer a third option and 11% are not sure. Among unaffiliated voters, 33% prefer Cain, 31% Obama, and 36% aren't ready to commit to either candidate."


On September 24, 2011, Cain won a surprise victory in a Republican presidential straw poll in Florida, with 37 percent of the 2,657 votes cast. The front-runner Rick Perry, who had been leading in the polls, came in second with 15 percent. Continuing with his success, on October 1, 2011 Cain won the TeaCon Midwest straw poll by a landslide with 77% of the vote. Cain also won the National Federation of Republican Women straw poll by a wide margin with 48.9%. The nearest contender was Rick Perry with 14.1%, followed closely by Mitt Romney with 13.3% and Newt Gingrich with 12.5%. Of the delegates voting, 80% said they were satisfied with the field of candidates; asked whether they identified with the Tea Party, about half said yes and half said no. A Fox News poll administered on October 23–25, showed Herman Cain as the front-runner receiving 24%, and Mitt Romney coming in at second place with 20%.

Loss of momentum

Cain's polling numbers declined in November 2011 amidst allegations of past sexual misconduct with female employees. Doubts about Cain as a potential commander-in-chief also increased following a videotaped interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board, in which Cain appeared to be unacquainted with U.S. policy toward Libya. In mid-November, a poll by The Washington Post and ABC showed a 19% increase in Republicans who hold a negative impression of Cain. A national poll conducted by CNN and ORC International showed Cain falling 11% among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, as compared to the previous month. This poll put Romney at 24%, Gingrich at 22% and Cain at 14%.

On December 3, Cain announced at campaign headquarters in Atlanta that he would suspend his presidential campaign, citing his family and thanking his supporters.


Legality of campaign funding

On October 30, 2011, allegations surfaced that the Cain campaign may have been illegally funded by Mark Block's Prosperity USA. As a tax-exempt charity, Prosperity USA is not allowed to donate money or services to a political campaign.

Prosperity USA was funded through Americans for Prosperity (AFP), which has previously employed both Cain and Block.

On October 31, 2011, Block denied that the Koch family had funded the Cain campaign.

Sexual misconduct accusations

Campaign suspension

Cain suspended his campaign on December 3, 2011.

Political positions

Economic issues

Foreign policy

Cain supports the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq, opposing a timetable for withdrawal as equivalent to surrender.

He said that the U.S. should aid Israel in defending itself, and has said, "If you mess With Israel, you're messing with the USA." He was the only Republican presidential candidate at former Fox News host Glenn Beck's Restoring Courage rally in Israel.

He expressed "shock" at President Obama's acceptance of Palestine's 1967 borders as a starting point of peace negotiations, saying he "threw Israel under the bus" Cain supports the Palestinian right of return under Israeli conditions, though media criticized his apparent unfamiliarity with the issue, though he later admitted that "I didn't understand the right of return".

Cain opposes any negotiation with North Korea, and has argued for maintaining "peace through strength", and opposed the New START treaty because he believes that the U.S. should retain freedom to develop nuclear weapons systems.

On Iran, Cain expressed support for a wary but "diplomatic approach" to nuclear disarmament in an October 2010 interview. In a subsequent interview with Fox News contributor KT McFarland, he said he thinks that only military action could stop the Iranian nuclear program, but that he would "have to talk to a lot of people" before he would consider that step. In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, he stated that a first strike on Iran "is not a practical, top-tier alternative... look at the topography of Iran. Where are you going to strike? It's very mountainous. That's what makes it very difficult."

In an October 8, 2011, interview with Christian Broadcasting Network's (CBN) David Brody, Cain was asked about the raised level of scrutiny received by presidential candidates and how he would answer a "gotcha" question "like who's the president of Uzbekistan?" Cain responded, "When they ask me who's the president of Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan, I'm going to say, 'You know, I don't know. Do you know?' And then I'm going to say, 'How's that going to create one job?' He further characterized Uzbekistan as one of the "small insignificant states around the world" and stated, "I don't think that is something that is critical to focusing on national security." Cain was later criticized for his seeming ignorance and mocking of a country that both presidents Bush and Obama have sought to use as a supply base in the Afghan war.

In an October 31, 2011 interview on PBS NewsHour, in response to a question from Judy Woodruff, Cain said of China "Yes, they're a military threat. They've indicated that they're trying to develop nuclear capability," suggesting that he was ignorant of China's current presence as a nuclear weapon state. When later interviewed by Virginia Lamp Thomas, Cain clarified his position by saying "What I meant was China does not have the size of nuclear capability that we have."

On November 14, 2011, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Cain "stumbled badly" in an interview with the paper's editors when he was unable to recall exactly why he disagreed with Obama's handling of the Libyan crisis. His campaign explained that the problem was that Cain had had only four hours sleep on the previous night. Cain later said that the Taliban and Al-Qaida would potentially be part of the new Libyan government.


Cain opposes 'No Child Left Behind' and favors state control of education. He has argued for greater performance-related pay for teachers, as well as for vouchers and charter school systems.

Global Warming

In interviews he has dismissed anthropogenic global warming as "poppycock", and opposed subsidies for wind power and solar power while favoring oil drilling offshore and in ANWR. Cain went on to say that "global warming" wasn't real but that "climate change" was and science has shown it not to be a crisis.

Health Care

Cain favors repealing the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Cain, a cancer survivor, has said that Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) would have killed him. Cain favors allowing the free market to play the largest role in health care and strongly supported the 2011 Ryan budget plan's "voucher program" to privatize Medicare.


Cain believes illegal immigrants should be able to go through the traditional citizenship process, but opposed what he has described as a sense of automatic "entitlement".

On October 15, 2011, Cain proposed to build an electrified fence on the border with Mexico that could kill people trying to enter the country illegally. Cain said: "It's going to be 20 feet high. It's going to have barbed wire on the top. It's going to be electrified. And there's going to be a sign on the other side saying, 'It will kill you—Warning'." At another campaign rally he added that the sign would be written in English and in Spanish. However, Cain stated his comments on an electrified border fence were just a "joke", telling CNN's John King, "Yeah, it was a joke, and yeah, I haven't learned how to be politically correct yet." In a following interview, Cain expressed that he was serious about the border fence and stated "I'm not walking away from that".

Energy and the environment

Cain favors offshore drilling and supports drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). He opposes providing funding and incentives by the government to particular corporations and industries for alternative energy sources such as solar and wind.

He has made statements indicating a belief that anthropogenic global warming is a hoax, referring to it as "poppycock" and claiming that scientists were "busted" of having "manipulated the data".

Occupy Wall Street

In October 2011, Herman Cain described the Occupy Wall Street movement as "un-American". He further stated, "I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself."

Social issues

Islam and American Muslims

A number of comments made by Cain regarding his attitudes toward Muslims have caused controversy, such as two cases in which he expressed his distrust of the doctors treating his cancer when he believed them to be Muslim, including one who had a "too foreign name", and his relief upon discovery that the doctor was a Christian. He described his discomfort with a specific Muslim doctor as based on his limited knowledge of the religion which included an understanding that Muslims have "an objective to convert all infidels or kill them". He has said he would not be comfortable appointing any Muslim to his administration or the judiciary. He criticized a court case – overturned on appeal – in which a judge used a husband's Muslim religious beliefs as a basis for not granting the man's wife a restraining order against him, and has argued in favor of allowing communities to ban the construction of mosques, expressing concerns about "people who might be terrorists".

Affirmative action

Herman Cain supports ensuring that minorities receive the same opportunities as non-minorities, but not a "quota" style affirmative action system that would give an advantage to minorities.


Cain's position on abortion has been the subject of some controversy. In interviews with Piers Morgan and John Stossel, Cain stated that he was "pro-life from conception", that it was not the government's role to make decisions about abortion, and in the interview with Stossel that "abortion should not be legal". His seemingly contradictory statements alarmed pro-life activists and other social conservatives, who accused Cain of echoing pro-choice reasoning and questioned his dedication to outlawing abortion. Cain sought to address these concerns by emphasizing his commitment to outlawing abortion and to de-funding Planned Parenthood. He argued that some of his comments had been taken out of context and described himself as "100% pro-life. End of story." The Washington Post described Cain's positions on abortion as inconsistent, but noted that his initial position "actually sounds vaguely pro-choice".

Gay and lesbian issues

Cain opposes legalizing same-sex marriage. He supports the Defense of Marriage Act and would support a federal ban on gay marriage.

Media coverage and reactions

Campaign staff


See also


External links

Democratic Party
Republican Party

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