Cain ad smokin' hot
October 25th, 2011
10:08 AM ET
10 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. $$$$ Obama buying your votes $$$$

    Oh help us, just how can we twist this to put Herman Cain in a bad light ?
    Will a child see an adult smoking ?
    Herman Cain condones smoking ?
    Unbunch your panties, what is the big deal ?

    October 25, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    The worst part about the ad is the low budget feeling that it gives you. I produced better stuff than that in a film course I took in college as a free elective. I mean like, couldn't they at least afford to hire some actors? Come on, man.

    Someone also needs to tell Mr. Cain's campaign that the mug shot at the end ain't woikin'. Can it. Use something that shows that he is a regular guy, not a special guy or whatever message that shot is supposed to convey. That mug shot is just a little on the creepy side, but apparently the campaign thinks it is a winning signature.

    October 25, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  3. smoke and mirrors

    How about some photos of Obama smoking? Geeze, how far will the left go? I don't like smoke but it's a personal know, America...home of the free????

    October 25, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  4. Birdwatcher1

    One day closer, that is for sure. One day closer to lung cancer.

    October 25, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  5. keightee

    My first impression of this ad was why? We've banned cigarette ads on TV, put warnings on cigarette packages and continually warn our children that cigarette smoking is no good for your health and should not be indulged in. Knowing this I asked a 'third' party what he thought of this ad, my 6 year old grandson. His response was fast and to the point, 'cigarettes are bad.' So taking that into account I would like to repeat why? What purpose does this ad serve? Who is this ad supposed to target? Who paid for this ad – the commitee for Herman Caine or the tobacco industry?

    October 25, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  6. westward

    Disgusting. Could Cain be doing any more to actually lose? Looking more and more like he just used this as a platform to sell his book to me. Just disgusting.

    October 25, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  7. Dewayne

    I don't really care either way. When you put this news blimp up on the screen it pales in comparison to our countries economy and future. However, it seems like everybody's talking about the ad so I guess it's working. 🙂

    October 25, 2011 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. TomInRochNY

    Take America back!?!?!? To what? The 1800's where the rich and powerful ruled over everyone else?

    October 25, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. Scott Nelson

    Cain probably doesn't believe secondhand smoke is dangerous, either. The fact that he is leading the polls shows how ridiculous the Republican party has become.

    October 25, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  10. The Elephant In The Room

    Wasn`t Cain`s most recent job as a local, Atlanta area RADIO TALK SHOW host? If so, why do we have all the resume INFLATION?

    As "CEO" of Goodfather`s pizza, he led it to be the 10th Ranked chain , , , and we`re allowing someone to claim praise for coming in 10th? WOW!

    Under his, ahem, leadership, Employment [translation: JOBS] fell 20%. Don`t take my word for it; Google "Businessweek & Herman Cain". Cain`s management prowess would result in a race to the bottom for the country just like his pizza chain. That`s not what Americans are looking for.

    Leaders don`t "joke" as a means of floating trial ballons on toxic policies; this is Mr. Cain`s modus operandi. These are not the characteristics of a good leader.

    He`s assailed Muslims, called blacks brainwashed, and told the poor and unemployed that they are stupid, lazy, whiners. He`s not going to "Unite" anybody, just listen to him.

    He is susposedly pro-life but will say the politically correct things when it suits him. Mr. Cain is not the one. In the words of of Mike Singletary . . . can`t do it, can win with him, can`t coach him, can`t do it!

    October 25, 2011 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. paul

    Really???!!????? Who cares if he lit one up. Last I checked .....smoking is not a crime, oh, but wait, I am sure given time some liberal, save a tree nut will propose a law banning that too. I think it is a good symbol that we are a free society and an individual can choose what they want to do, when they want to do it, and how they want to do it. Even Herman Cain, a CEO of a giant Foodservice Corp, opposed the smoking ban in restaurants. And he is correct. A sole proprietor of the establishment should be able to dictate how he/she want to run their business. NOT the State, City, or Federal government. If an individual doesnt want to go to an establishment that allows smoking, then don't go. That is the wonderful thing about freedom....YOU have a CHOICE. Same with TV, instead of complaining and trying to get programs banned, CHANGE the CHANNEL. Don't punish the masses for the few that dislike stuff. Again, another non-issue brought up to deflect from the real problems that are affecting the nation.

    October 25, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Clwyd

    An beginner can only be expected to create something like this. Imagine what he would do if he were elected!

    October 25, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Nothing new here

    Well, maybe Cain likes people who smoke! It is suppose to be a free country – right?? Right??? Right???? ROFL 🙂

    October 25, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  14. Scott

    Ummm isn't Cain a cancer survivor?

    October 25, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. ThinkAgain

    "Take America back"? From whom – the Americans who voted for President Obama, over 10 million more than who voted for McCain? How is that "uniting" America?

    The tail needs to stop wagging the dog: GOP policies are all PROVEN FAILURES and their strategy to obstruct everything President Obama has tried to accomplish is anti-American and borderline treasonous. A majority of Americans voted Democratic in 2008 and the only reason we lost the House in 2010 is because of traditionally low mid-term election turnout.

    Come 2012, when Democrats turn out to vote in record numbers, Cain and the rest of these anti-American GOPers will be HISTORY!

    October 25, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Rosa

    This has got to be the most idiotic ad I have ever seen!!!!

    October 25, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Marc Lewis

    Perhaps Cain hopes to blow smoke into the voters eyes?

    October 25, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. Jack

    So he's trying to get the smoker's vote? LOL

    October 25, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. Jack

    Is he going to cut taxes on cigarettes?

    October 25, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Peace

    Whether the web video/Ad was hoax or not, this is not worth reading. It is totally wastage of peoples time. How is this reporting beneficial to people?
    Who is assigning these kids to do bogus reporting? CNN send them back again to school to learn more and get grown up serious people to do the reporting. You are really letting down your entire network!

    October 25, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Thinker

    Goodness, he cannot be serious. This guy wants to run the most powerful country in the world?

    October 25, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  22. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Well guess who is trolling for more tobacco money as the political mudbath gets more expensive?

    October 25, 2011 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  23. Tim Gard

    Is this a misquote or misspoken: "if I didn't believe that, I would be here" - but he is there...?

    October 25, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  24. Oncology

    It means that, like cancer, Cain will never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down.

    October 25, 2011 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Steve- Illinois

    So his chief of staff smokes! Some people really need to get a life if they think this is newsworthy!

    October 25, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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