Washington (CNN) – Presidential contender Herman Cain reacted to a number of recent polls that have him near the top of the GOP race in a speech at the Values Voter Summit on Friday.
In an energized speech, the former CEO of Godfathers Pizza said he didn't want his followers to be confused by some of the 'garbage that people throw out there."
"When you run for president and you move into the top tier," Cain said to cheers and laughter. "You get this bulls-eye on your back and people take pot shots left and right."
Cain went on to say that the rest of the field is afraid, "that this long shot may not be a long shot any longer."
Though Cain never referenced any candidate directly, earlier in the day, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum launched his "0-0-0" plan, a riff off of Cain's "9-9-9" tax reform plan.
"I know there's a plan out there that's the 9-9-9 plan. I got a better plan. It's the 0-0-0 plan," Santorum said to a round of laughs.
Cain branded himself as a one-time long shot candidate and said his success in the polls shows that the political pundits, who said he didn't have enough name recognition to win, were wrong.
"The political pundits said Herman Cain cannot get the nomination," Cain said. "Let me tell you what the American people are saying. They don't care about katrillion dollars. America wants to raise some Cain, not more money."
The Values Voter Summit is a yearly forum held by the political action arm of the Family Research Council. First held in 2006, the event has become a platform for candidates to define their positions on social issues, including abortion and same-sex marriage.
Cain, the only candidate to never hold elected office, spent a good portion of the speech speaking about foreign policy. Taking a page from former President Ronald Reagan's presidency, Cain said his foreign policy mantra would be "peace through strength and clarity."
Cain expanded upon the clarity aspect, saying the United States has to know who the countries friends are, who the countries enemies area and "stop giving money to our enemies."
"We might be the shinning city on a hill that has slid down to the side of the hill temporarily," Cain said. "But we are still the nation that all the other nations in the world look up to because we are an exceptional nation and I'll never apologize for America's greatness."
Cain also answered a question he said he gets all the time.
"America has problems, I am a problem solver, that is why I am running," Cain said. "My challenge to you is to stay informed, because we are up against a lot of stupid people in America, who do not have a clue."
CNN's Poll of Polls shows Cain surging of late. According to the poll, Cain is now in second place with 17%, behind only Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.