Through the laughs, Cain defends his serious side
October 28th, 2011
11:53 AM ET
11 years ago

Through the laughs, Cain defends his serious side

(CNN) - Herman Cain assured supporters he was "in it to win it" Friday morning on a campaign stop in Alabama, a state that doesn't hold its primary until March 13.

"I wouldn't be running if I didn't believe we could take back our government," Cain said, answering critics who've asked if his campaign was serious enough to hold onto his sudden front-runner status. "I wouldn't be running if I didn't believe we wouldn't get the Republican nomination."

Political pundits and commentators have questioned Cain's campaign strategy, which has largely kept the GOP presidential candidate outside of early contest states, like Iowa and New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO has been on a book tour blitz in the South, so much so that the campaign said Friday morning it plans on dialing back its pace, citing a lack of sleep for some of Cain's recent gaffes.

While speaking to the crowd Friday, Cain couldn't seem to remember where he was Thursday night, as he began telling a story about a supporter he met on the campaign trail.

"I ran into a gentleman at the airport last night when we were leaving–" Cain paused. "Wherever we were leaving. I don't even know where we left last night."

Cain, putting his hands on his hips, turned to his campaign staff. "Where were we?"

"Arkansas," an aide answered.

"Arkansas," Cain repeated. "Right next door."

Sleep or no sleep, the White House hopeful still managed to excite his audience. Sporting a black cowboy hat, Cain touted his maverick style and repeated his personal catch phrase: "Let Herman be Herman."

He also sparked big laughs while blasting the federal government, arguing that "stupid people are running America."

Cain faced criticism earlier in the year for making a similar comment, but unapologetically repeated it Friday.

"(They said) 'You shouldn't call people stupid.' Why? They're stupid," Cain said.

His comments follow a week of high-profile attention on his unusual campaign tactics, including a web ad that featured his chief-of-staff, Mark Block, smoking a cigarette.

Both Cain and Block stood by the ad, saying in multiple media appearances that America needs a sense of humor, a line Cain has used often throughout the campaign.

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

Also see:

Gingrich: Obama's student loan plan is a 'Ponzi scheme'

Cain campaign reports more than $3 million raised in October

Santorum: 'I would never skip a debate'

Tea party group to Bachmann: Quit the presidential race

Filed under: 2012 • Alabama • Herman Cain
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Sandy

    He's serious until someone calls him on his position, then he was only "joking".

    October 28, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  2. logic in LA

    Who is the "We" are talking about? Corporate America? They have owned the office for decades. He is one of "Them" and that's why he is able to run. "We" can't afford to run for President.

    October 28, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. FM

    I do agree with him. This man is in to win it. I said it before and am saying it now again. He will emerge as a winner. There is nothing so powerful than a person expressing himself. He is good at it and he will be rewarded.

    October 28, 2011 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  4. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    I take Cain as serious as I take a bad case of gas. He's a bunch of hot air. This man has no foreign policy credentials and that's scary. his economic policy is nothing but a handout to the rich and a tax increase on the middle class and the poor. He's trying to take the country back to when there were unpaved roads and it was either your rich or your poor. There is no middle class in Herman Cain's America.

    October 28, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  5. Joe Shmoe

    Rest assured, his foreign policy advisors will be of the neocon war and more war variety. Cain is a Federal Reserve puppet. Ron Paul is the only candidate with a serious plan to reduce the debt before this nation collapses.

    October 28, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  6. Real Patriot

    "I wouldn't be running if I didn't believe we could take back our government,"

    Exactly who is "we" and who will you "take the government back" from? Are you suggesting that we are all not Americans and entitled through elections to hold positions in the government?

    Or are you "Just Kidding" again?

    I can't wait until the Teapublicans nominate this'll be a hoot!

    October 28, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  7. LayneP

    Sorry but the real deal needs to have more than 6, count them 6 staff member between Iowa and New Hampshire. I don't think Cain ever thought he would be in this position and now he is just holding on for dear life. We will see how long he lasts when Perry and Romney start running advertising and people who are not paying attention at this point start really looking at their options. Look for Cains numbers to tank soon.

    October 28, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. Carl In reality

    Herman Cain stated that in the 1960s he was a coward in defense of his own civil rights while attending Morehouse College because his coward of a father told him to stay out of trouble. Mr. Cain is an puppet, who willingly dances and smiles as a minstrel. Jim Crow would still be law if others chose to be cowards like the Cain men.

    October 28, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. westward

    Now, we know for sure that his campaign IS FAKE.

    October 28, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Democrat Party - leftist "progressive" socialist communist losers hellbent on destroying the USA

    Now that Herman Cain is leading the pack, it is very revealing to see the MSM attack him as not serious, error prone, on a book tour, not really running, not going to win it anyways, ... Can't you simply report FACTS fo once instead of your agenda???

    October 28, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  11. kmp

    I am tired of hearing this term "Take our Goverment back", back from where and where did it go. If you are upset with the election then make something of it, but get over it the otherside won. Personally if anyside needs to use that term it us the American people we need to take our country back from the hands of the corporations and the officials who protect them.

    October 28, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  12. skarphace

    Cain: "I wouldn't be running if I didn't believe we wouldn't get the Republican nomination."

    So you don't believe you will get the nomination and that is why you are running? Huh?

    October 28, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  13. FM


    "Sorry but the real deal needs to have more than 6, count them 6 staff member between Iowa and New Hampshire".

    Cain with 6 staff and the rest Romney and Perry have may be 200. And the man (Cain) is leading them all. Staff do not matter anymore nowadays. No one is listening to the staff. Even the ads is wastage of money. Nothing more than falling in love. Cain's base like him. They are not going to listen to anyone they do not like.

    October 28, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. Kremmers

    Okay, once again...why do we need a sense of humor when it comes to someone who intends to run our government? Call me crazy, but I don't feel like that's something to joke about.

    October 28, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Woman In California

    Cain is nothing more than a comedian in "black face". Insulting, ignorant and available. Once the TP has used him enough (to insult black people) he will no longer be relevant. Herman's best bet would be to pack up his 9-9-9 Plan and his 9-0-0 Plan and go back to making pizzas. No one with an ounce of self respect would say the things he does but then again he is a comedian and the more people laugh the better he looks.

    October 28, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. REG in AZ

    Cain makes a blunder – he was joking. Cain needs attention – he is bazaar. Cain wants to smooth things over – he is then "serious". C'mon, lets move on and let Cain fall by the side and quit wasting people's time – all he wants, like Perry and Bachmann, is to be the next "puppet" in the Republican Party, like GWBush was, to be supported and directed by the few – those who "pull the strings". As Grover Norquist said, the next Republican president doesn't need any qualifications other than to be able to sign the bills sent to them by Boehner and McConnell – hopefully the voters recognize that for what it is, a whole lot of gall in assuming they can con and manipulate the public and insultingly just take the people for granted.

    October 28, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  17. A. Goodwin

    Cain can joke all he wants...the rest of us, though, want a serious president – he is NOT serious.

    October 28, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. FM

    I see here those who are against Cain are not going to vote for him anyhow. Those who have boarded his train, are the ones who are going to lift him up to the top. Am not his fan either, but am trying to analyse things!

    October 28, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  19. one voice

    Has He been dippin in the mary jane?

    October 28, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  20. Cynic

    @Carl in Reality
    Are you seriously ripping on him for not getting involved in the civil rights protests of the 60's? Are you kidding me? YOu can rip the guys policy all you want, but it's not like 1.) you were around at that time and 2.) you're probably white, so you wouldn't know anyway. It was a protest to be black at that time, so he could have possibly saved his life by not getting involved in those protests. He probably agreed with the movement, but that doesn't mean that he should have joined it.

    October 28, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. MnTaxpayer

    Take our government back from who? I hope he's talking about the republican house.

    October 28, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  22. PizzaMan

    I can just hear it now as he is meeting with foreign dignitaries...
    Cain: "Yeah, that Sarcozy, what a moron. And that Chinese guy, what's his name Hu? I wouldn't let him do my laundry"
    Cain Aide: "Umm, Sir, Mr. Sarcozy and Mr. Hu are right behind you.."
    Cain: "Oh, hey guys, just kidding right, can't you take a joke? You need to lighten up..."


    October 28, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  23. Keith

    Isn't it time that we all start seeing conservatism as the joke it really is... the human desire to control others, even when we cannot control ourselves... to all those who wish to lable themselves as "conservative".... the jokes on you and you are the joke! and now please lable me that dreaded "L" word, at least I know it is not up to me to tell you how to be, you are free to be the "C" word.... let you live in the boosom of god peacfully.....oh, oh can I say that?

    October 28, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |