Q&A: Herman Cain Isn’t Looking for a Job from Romney, but He Has a Few Pointers

  • Share
  • Read Later
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain speaks at a Tea Party rally at the River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida on Aug. 26, 2012

Herman Cain, former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and 2012 presidential also-ran, went to Tampa to take part in a unity rally on Sunday. TIME caught up with him to chat about the Republican ticket, what he’s doing in Florida and, of course, pizza.

What are you trying to achieve in Tampa?
I’m trying to send a message of unity. The fact that I didn’t get the nomination — I’m basically trying to tell people it’s not about me, it’s not about them. It’s about defeating Barack Obama. Mitt Romney is the nominee and Paul Ryan is his running mate. I’m here to show support for the ticket and the mission.

What do you think about Ryan’s controversial plan for changing Medicare?
I don’t think his plan is controversial at all. Ryan’s plan clearly lays out an approach that will save Medicare. That’s what I admire most about Mitt Romney making the decision that he did to select Ryan, because he knew that it was going to put the Medicare debate front and center. If we don’t change anything, it’s going to bankrupt itself.

Have you and Romney had contact since you suspended your campaign?
We have chatted about, No. 1, what my interests are going forward [in terms of being part of his Administration]. And I said, “Governor Romney, with all due respect, I’m not lookin’ for a job. I don’t want to be your VP pick, and I don’t want to be a Cabinet member. Because I’ve got other things in my career that I’m interested in doing.”

Did he ask you about those posts in particular?
No. I just volunteered that information. I don’t know what he was thinking … No 2., I gave him some advice on sharpening his message. And he has taken a lot of that advice. Last week he rolled out his energy policy. I loved it. It was a five-point plan. And he even said to me, “Notice, I’m starting to use a number-point plan.”

Do you have any regrets about initially endorsing Newt Gingrich?
No. The process may not be perfect, but it is what it is. I don’t regret endorsing Newt Gingrich when I endorsed him, based upon what I knew at that time, based on the relationship that I had with Newt. I happen to have had a much closer relationship with Newt Gingrich, so that was part of my consideration. But then once Newt dropped out of the race, I had no problem endorsing Governor Romney because he was going to be the presumptive nominee.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Aug. 18–24)

What is your favorite moment from the campaign?
My favorite moment was after I won the Florida [straw poll]. It shocked the political world. It shocked everybody.

Obviously, things were tough before you suspended the campaign. Was that hard on you?
I expected it to be tough. I expected it to be a lot of work. What I did not expect is that people who were threatened by me would lie and would get other people to lie to get me out of the race.

Back to this idea of unity. A poll recently showed that Romney had zero support among African Americans. What is your response to that?
First of all, I don’t believe that poll. Polls can be manipulated. Secondly, I’m not a zero. All of my black friends that are conservatives, they’re not a zero … You have a lot of black conservatives out there who aren’t standing on a stage declaring their conservatism. Those polls are not capturing the sentiment of a lot of black Americans.

One thing the media gave you a lot of heat about was your lack of foreign policy qualifications. Does Romney have enough foreign policy experience to become President?
He has more foreign policy experience in his little finger than Barack Obama has learned in 3½ years.

What experience is that?
It’s based upon the fact that he reads and he listens. He has foreign policy people around him. But he doesn’t need to tout his foreign policy experience. That’s another attempt on the part of the mainstream media to suck him into talking about stuff that isn’t the priority. The three priorities that he’s focused on — and I did give him some suggestions on this — are the economy, energy and national security. And he’s strong on national security. You need to be stronger on national security than you need to be on foreign policy.

Is it worse to imagine a world without pizza or one in which Obama gets a second term?
It’s worse to imagine a world with Obama getting a second term than it is to imagine a world without pizza. Because with Obama in a second term, there will be no pizza. For anyone.

35 comments
Sort: Newest | Oldest
sharpeiboy
sharpeiboy

'He has more foreign policy experience in his little finger than Barack Obama has learned in 3½ years.'  A great pity that we didn't see much of this little finger.

Yep, we abroad really admired the man when he came over to show himself in Europe; in a couple of days he seemed to make as many gaffes and snide insults as Rumsfeld on an off-day. In London that part of the UK who hadn't heard of him before were suitably unimpressed by his diplomatic skills and his willingness to irritate his 'greatest' ally.

Of course being praised by Herman Cain is not exactly the most ringing of endorsements, coming to think of it.  I think that most of the world pities the USA if the best you can come up with is Mitt. I suppose we survived Bush Jr for 8 years. Thank god for the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Benevolent Lawyer
Benevolent Lawyer

I guess the Republican Convention with its bunch of old boring White men, added with a speech from a chameleon who wants to be president at all costs, is really really boring--so TIME decided to give us a little dose of the Herman Clown!! bwahahahaha '

I can't wait for Romney's failed effort to change himself again. He fooled us in MA, but he knows that on a National level, we will not be buying his posturing and lies. Rich rich man, with tremendous wealth and investments. The man who "loves" America but  hides his tax returns, hides money in foreign banks and foreign tax havens, and makes $10,000.00 dollar bets  during debates. Good luck with his efforts to look human on Thursday. It will not work because it is a lie.

Romney does not understand the middle class, and does not care. You cannot change what you do not understand. Well,  I guess if you put a skirt on a rock, it could appear alive? Bwahahaaha. That is as much chance as Romney has of appearing human, a rock in a skirt.

sacredh
sacredh

If Romney wants or neeeds any advice from from Cain, he's started hitting the bottle.

sacredh
sacredh

"Is it worse to imagine a world without pizza or one in which Obama gets a second term?"

.

Herman: It's worse to imagine a pizza without sausage. Ask Bill Clinton.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

What experience is that?

.

Thanks, Katy. Follow-up questions. Need more of them. They can reveal a lot, as Cain just confessed Romney lacks foreign policy experience (other than the Cayman Islands and Switzerland, but I digress) in his waffling answer. We can remember another Katy ...or Katie, as in Couric, devastate Sarah Palin with follow-up questions.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

I’m basically trying to tell people it’s not about me, it’s not about them. It’s about defeating Barack Obama.

And here we have it. America, this election is not about you. It's not about what's best for you, it's not about what ails you and how to fix it, it is not about ensuring a future for your children, a decent living for your families, education for your young people and a healthy retirement for your seniors. Oh no. This election is all about defeating the guy we don't like because we don't like him.

Well, if that's not a governing philosophy worth voting for, I just don't know what is.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

I'm just guessing, but I think Republicals believe life will get better for all if we just get rid of BO. 

It's thinly-disguized racism/classism and getting increasingly more polarized--us people against THOSE people.

If I hear "we're here to take our country back" one more time I'll ask 'em who stole it. 

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

I know, right? I keep hearing "we're losing our rights," and my question is, "so what rights did you have on Jan. 19, 2009, that you don't now?" Oddly enough, no one can answer that. And, yes, it is beyond ironic that people who had absolutely no problem with the way Dubya "won" the election in 2000 can say with a straight face that Obama "stole" this country … by winning an election outright. Cognitive dissonance much?

Earlier today, my 19YO, the most apolitical child who has ever walked this earth, asked, "What is up with these people?" When she knows your party is a farce, you're in serious trouble.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

When the R's speak about government of / by / for the people, they mean rich people, NOT "you people."

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

The guy is an idiot who proved it. Why are you giving me this trash of an interview? Why are you not covering all the lies Romney is presenting? Why am I not reading about how Obama"s base are Welfare recipients, or Romney claiming an active roll in Bain while claiming an inactive roll with Bain for 2010 taxes, and 2012 Presidential run? Why can he signal that he is anti abortion and pro abortion at the same time, or he is anti public health care and pro public health care at the same time?

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Just a guess but I'd point the finger at the High Sheriffs instead of the reporters for choosing the topics / assignments. I agree that there are deeper subjects to ponder. One is the mountain of data Gawker unearthed on tax schemes. Unless one of Romney's accountants or a disgruntled IRS employee anonymously leaks Mitt's tax returns, the reporters are going to have to grill tax experts to see if Romney crossed the legal line.

http://www.businessinsider.com...

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

 I am sure it is the case, but it doesn't matter how you read it, I am a disgruntle Time reader because Time delivers soft news with very little value, information, research, and the same old crap I have been reading since the last Presidential election.

I am sure we can excuse the reporter, but then does that change anything? Perhaps if the reporters become disgruntle it will have an affect on Time. Sure as hell I will not, they make that very clear.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

That's called "re-positioning to the center."  Seriously.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

This guy's a phony.  I skipped reading this post.

tominchicago
tominchicago

If Obama's victory results in the end of crappy pizza like Godfathers or Papa John's, I think that it would be a double victory for America.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

The Cain Train has some more books to sell it seems.  Make no mistake, the entire reason he ran for President was so he could make money off of it (just like Newt).  He had no intention of winning, he just didn't expect for all his dirty laundry to be aired as well.

MrObvious
MrObvious

I’m trying to send a message of unity. The fact that I didn’t get the nomination–I’m basically trying to tell people it’s not about me, it’s not about them. It’s about defeating Barack Obama. Mitt Romney is the nominee and Paul Ryan is his running mate. I’m here to show support for the ticket and the mission.

True, politics is about defeating something, but it seems that GOP and Herman here is more about the 'NO' alternative.

MrObvious
MrObvious

I have a few realistic pointers to Mitt and Herman; don't take anything Herman says seriously. And Herman - don't screw around.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

To be fair to Herman, he was by far my favorite among the gaggle of clowns running for the GOP ticket.  Remember when he quoted Pokemon and tried to pass it off as thought provoking?

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

 You have some reason to think he would NOT find it thought provoking?

MrObvious
MrObvious

The only thing 'thought' provoking about Herman is the idea that there's any 'thought' in there.

I've seem crazies in politic sbefore  but they were usually beat with a mental stick and forced to sit at the small table.

Now it's up front and on display. We have one party that makes a entire show out of the parade of misarable eye twitching cretins that any reasonable adult laughs at. And if it wasn't for the economy one party would be put in the corner right now for a long time out.

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

And if it wasn't for the economy one party would be put in the corner right now for a long time out.

I'm going to add to that one incumbent President's almost pathological need to negotiate a "grand bargain" with them, to cement his legacy of "bi-partisanship" as he sees it.

Had he just run with the platform and positions he was elected on, they would have been marginalized.

Even when he didn't need to do so, even when they signalled that there would be NO compromise, he still felt the need to bring them into the discussion.

Too bad he didn''t feel a similar need to include HIS supporters.

pollardty
pollardty

Cain advice: Stick to hookers, regular employees and chicks can't be trusted to keep things private.

happydayfortennis
happydayfortennis

I don't understand how Romney and Cain have this mindset that "it's all about defeating Obama." What would Romney run on if the economy had completely rebounded under Obama?

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

Ah yes, there's that elephant again. The economy HAS rebounded, unless you happen to be an hourly worker........

Arimathean
Arimathean

Arguably, the economy DID rebound under Obama -- a clear majority of economists believe that the recession would have been significantly worse if the actions that Obama and the Fed took hadn't been done.

Tero1
Tero1

"Because with Obama in a second term, there will be no pizza. For anyone."

Why are you wasting time and resources interviewing this man? Was Donald Trump busy?

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

I think the High Sheriffs assigned Katy to do this, or she drew the short straw from the assignment jar. It looks like Trump's not busy now as his "big surpirse" has been cancelled. Thank you, Weather Channel.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...

jmac
jmac

Katey was bored to tears.  She wrote a comedy piece.  

harvey_conn
harvey_conn

no, Trump was busy on CNN telling Romney and Ryan to be "..as mean as possible" during the campaign.  That will convince the poor and downtrodden to vote for them, because if there's anything the less fortunate support, it's "mean" politicians. Right.

Arimathean
Arimathean

1) Please stop asking this guy questions.  It was hard enough to try and tune him out during primary season.

2) How many recreational phamaceuticals would a sane person have to ingest in order to think that Cain's answer to the last question made any sort of rational sense?

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

I'm trying to figure out how that question was supposed to make any sense.

I understand that reporters are assigned to cover these people, and I understand that when an editor says, "Interview this guy," the reporter has to come back with something. I've been there, done that, and felt the need to shower afterward.

But, Jesus, at least have enough pride in yourself and respect for the job (and the nation) to ask real questions. Just because you're interviewing an ignoramus doesn't mean you have to check your brain at the door.

Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!!

Herman Cain!!!!

Master Republican Hater of Women!!!!!!!

Giving pointers to Romney, the Master Republican Liar!!!!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAH!!!!!