Local News

April 24, 2012

Cain: I could have won

Obama re-election 'my greatest nightmare'

If not for “dirty, gutter politics,” Herman Cain believes voters would be choosing between him and Barack Obama in November’s presidential election.

“If I had not dropped out of the campaign, in all modesty, I would have sewn up the nomination,” Cain, a Republican, told The Daily Citizen on Monday after a fundraising luncheon for U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ranger, at the trade center. “I really believe that. I was the lead candidate for four weeks and every week, my lead was getting bigger and we hadn’t even had a primary yet. Because people were connecting with my message and I was moving away from all of them, that’s why someone dug up the dirty, gutter politics.”

Cain said his campaign gathered momentum early on in the crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls and “it was unstoppable until you-know-what happened.” Accusations of sexual harassment and a longtime affair forced Cain to end his presidential bid in December 2011. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is the presumptive favorite to win the Republican presidential nomination. Cain described Obama being re-elected as “my greatest nightmare.” He said Romney can defeat Obama, but he qualified that statement with several “ifs.”

First, Romney must be clearer in explaining his solutions for the country’s problems, Cain said. Cain gathered a large following because of his proposed “9-9-9” revamping of the federal tax system.

“I remember during one of the debates, I think I (ticked) him off,” Cain said. “I said, ‘Gov. Romney, do you mind sharing with us the 59 points of your 59-point plan?’ That was the first time Romney looked like he got teed off at me. He couldn’t name the 59 points in the 59-point plan and the American people don’t know what is in his 59-point plan. You’ve got to have clear, bold solutions to put on the table and not just say how bad Obama’s policies are.”

Cain said Romney must also connect with five groups: the conservative base, independents, people of faith, disgruntled Democrats and youth.

Cain attended a political rally with political satirist and television host Stephen Colbert at The College of Charleston. The college has an enrollment of about 12,000 students, but more than 5,000 people attended the rally.

“When I go to college campuses I give them two very simple messages,” Cain said. “No. 1, Washington is broke, and you’ve got to help fix it. No. 2, the United States of America is broke, and if you don’t help do something about it, you are going to be stuck with the tab. They get that. It’s that simple.”

Graves first met Cain in Gordon County in 2004 during a Cain campaign stop for the U.S. Senate. Graves described Cain as “a common sense business leader” who is “bold and outspoken.”

Woody Fletcher, with the Murray County Tea Party Patriots, said he was impressed with Cain’s message and his speaking ability, adding they sat at the same table during lunch.

“I appreciated Herman so much listening to me at the table,” Fletcher said. “I’ve always thought Herman Cain was the best at addressing a crowd than any politician I’ve ever seen because he’s direct. That’s why I’ve always admired Newt Gingrich, they both have the ability to answer questions yes or no.”

Since Romney will probably be the Republican Party’s candidate for president, rumors are already flying about a running mate. Cain offered three suggestions: U.S Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Col. Allen West.

Whoever Romney chooses, his running mate “must drip conservatism” and “bring some likability and excitement,” Cain said.

And who would have been Cain’s vice president choice?

“I don’t know,” Cain said. “I hadn’t gotten that far to be perfectly honest with you. I never ran it through my mind at that point.”

Cain didn’t rule out running for president again.

“I never say never, but right now I’m not looking that far ahead,” Cain said.

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