Cain ad smokin' hot
October 25th, 2011
10:08 AM ET
11 years ago

Cain ad smokin' hot

(CNN) – It's not that often that campaign ads go viral, but a web video posted by businessman Herman Cain six days ago may be in the running.

And Cain's chief-of-staff Mark Block told CNN he has no regrets over the spot that stirred controversy.

The curious video featuring quick cuts and pans of Block before he exhales cigarette smoke gained traction Monday, but isn't listed on Cain's official YouTube page.

"America needs to get a sense of humor," Block told CNN Tuesday.

Block serves as chief-of-staff for Cain 2012 as well as chief operating officer of Friends of Herman Cain. He introduces himself in a closeup before extolling the attributes of the former CEO for Godfather's Pizza, who is seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president.

But why did he include smoking in the video? "I smoke – it's a choice," Block said in an e-mail.

In the video, he speaks directly to the camera saying, "Tomorrow is one day closer to the White House. I really believe that Herman Cain will put 'united' back in the United States of America, and if I didn't believe that, I wouldn't be here," while shaking his head with conviction.

After describing Cain as a candidate that "America's never seen," he vows that with supporters' help, "we can take this country back."

Block singled out the campaign's motivation behind the ad saying his "Only intent was to speak to our supporters, about the campaign – smoking is just Block being Block."

Music swells in the background of the ad as a voice sings, "I am an American," and Block lifts a cigarette to his mouth, takes a drag, and exhales toward the camera.

It's a bizarre twist for the GOP frontrunner, who survived a bout with colon cancer, but not contradictory to his own views. As a lobbyist for the National Restaurant Association, Cain opposed bans on smoking.

The ad closes with a stonefaced Cain, who slowly breaks into a smile-a familiar parting shot of the candidate that also appears at the end of the "Who is Herman Cain" web ad featured on his campaign website.

CNN confirmed Monday that the web video was not a hoax. When asked if he has any regrets Tuesday, Block responded, "none."

A recent CNN/ORC International poll of the GOP presidential nomination placed Cain in second place with 18% support among Republicans and independents who lean Republican.

Also see:

New video puts Romney and Perry in the ring

Dems call out Romney for foreclosure remarks

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Dan5404

    Another wierd episode from a wierd candidate that doesn't have a chance. His 15 minutes will be ended soon.

    October 25, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. JR White Bear Lake MN.

    I've often wondered why no one has gone after the smoker/lung cancer vote. This move by Cain shows me that he just might have what it takes to be the GOP presdintial candidate . Go Herman Cain 2012 !

    October 25, 2011 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. Drew

    Not a good move politically.. with all the bashing done towards smokers over the last 10 years.. this just isnt a good idea.. unless he's trying to "drag" in younger voters, who smoke, away from the liberal side..

    October 25, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  4. billy

    Amateurish. Clearly shows Cain NOT ready for prime time. Frankly, I wouldn't let him cook my pizza.

    October 25, 2011 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. george of the jungle

    This guy is bizzare and should stick to pizza

    October 25, 2011 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  6. Skitownrefugee

    The only serious Republic candidate is obviously Romney and that's only because he appears to be the most professional. The rest of the pack should all join the circus – in cages where we can "poke at 'em".

    October 25, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  7. RightasRain

    Did he roll that cig himself?

    October 25, 2011 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  8. MacKeith

    It is not just that he is smoking. His words are saying "yes," but his head is shaking "no." He doesn't even believe what he is saying.

    October 25, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  9. GaryB

    So Americans with lung cancer are taking the country back?

    October 25, 2011 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. Woman In California

    Cain's message: IF you get cancer – BLAME YO-SELF (Cain's English). Presidential material? Maybe for the TP but not for the rest of us.

    October 25, 2011 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  11. Wayne

    Great video! I’m not a smoker but it does symbolize how intrusive the government has become.

    October 25, 2011 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. James K. in Minneapolis

    Herman Cain is definitely blowing smoke up your ___.

    October 25, 2011 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. a in austin

    Herman Cain, brought to you by David and Charles Koch and employees of americans for prosperity....

    October 25, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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