Late last week, I was pleased to get the opportunity to talk to former Presidential candidate, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO, and former talk radio host Herman Cain. What follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.
First question: is it time for Santorum, Gingrich and Paul to hang it up or should they keep fighting this thing?
The numbers are on Mitt Romney’s side and from the outside it would appear as if the others should suspend their campaigns so that we can get on with the head-to-head competition. But what a lot of people don’t realize is how difficult it is to make that decision to get out of the race. I went through that. It’s almost more difficult to decide to get out of the race for President than it is to make a decision to get into the race. So I understand that Catch-22 that they must be feeling. No one can make that decision except them.
Would you accept a position in a Republican administration — including possibly the VP slot?
I never say never, but I don’t have any expectations at this point for any offers like that. There are certainly a couple of things within a Republican administration that I might consider. But, it would depend upon what the Cabinet position was, it would depend upon the understanding that I would have with the president because being able to make a difference is what I’m all about. And if my hands are going to be tied in some way and I can’t do the things that we mutually agree that need to be done, then I would probably respectfully turn down such an offer.
Now when you were running for president there were a number of improper sexual conduct charges that were made against you. All of them were pretty flimsy, but combined they managed to do a lot of damage to the campaign. Since you dropped out of the race, all those allegations seem to have just completely vanished off the radar. So two questions related to that: have there been any new developments on those fronts since you dropped out of the race and do you feel like the fact your reputation with conservatives doesn’t seem to have suffered at all – do you think that means you’ve been vindicated?
That doesn’t totally vindicate me in the minds of some people. But your point is a good one. You haven’t heard anything else about those allegations. You want to know why?
Because they were all absolutely false. There have been some other developments that we are not ready to make public yet, but we will at the appropriate time.
Your second point on my reputation and the respect that people have for me and my ideas — it didn’t hurt that at all. I have been doing a number of speaking engagements at colleges and universities. I spoke at two Tea Party events yesterday in Michigan. At the colleges and the universities, it’s standing room only in these auditoriums with these college students which is very, very inspiring — and they are paying attention. They have awakened to the hypocrisy of this administration. But I plan to continue to stay focused on the mission, which is to defeat Barack Obama.
Now you’ve run for president, you’re a respected businessman — so you know what you’re talking about when it comes to finances like few other people who are out there. Is there a real chance, in your opinion, that the United States could default within the next decade or two and end up like Greece?
Absolutely. We are already at a point where our national debt has already started to exceed our GDP. That’s what got Greece in trouble. And if you look at President Obama’s proposed 10 year budget, which by the way, was voted down in the House 414 to 0, thank God — it would have bankrupted this country because we are on a path to look just like Greece if this president and this administration stays in place. This is why I’m still working tirelessly along with a lot of other people to try and defeat him because we are on a path to financial ruin like Greece.
Now most conservatives can give you a long list of things that are wrong with the Democratic Party and the Left. In your opinion what’s wrong with the Republican Party right now?
The biggest thing that the Republican Party needs to improve is the sharpness of its message. That’s been one of my biggest criticisms of some of the candidates running for the nomination — not specific enough and not bold enough. Talking political generalities does not help sharpen the Republican brand. And this is going to be one of the areas that I’m going to strongly recommend to our ultimate nominee. We’ve got to have specific solutions, bold solutions — because the crises we face will not be solved by tinkering around the edges.
And before we go, can you talk about your Revolution on the Hill? I know you’ve got that coming up very soon.
Cain’s Revolution on the Hill, April 15th and 16th — for more information go to CainConnections.com. It is a rally and series of events over a day and a half to make two statements.
Number one, reform in the tax code won’t do. We must replace it and we are going to replace it with 9-9-9. The interesting thing, John, is that the popularity of the 9-9-9 Plan has not subsided even though I have gotten out of the race. And so I, along with my team, we are continuing to promote it.
The other message that we are sending by doing the Revolution on the Hill is that the American people are sick and tired of the shenanigans, the deception, of the wasteful spending, the way that this president is showing arrogance toward the Supreme Court and a whole list of other things. So that’s the purpose of this and in order to highlight the insanity of the tax code, we said, “Let’s do a big rally in Washington, D.C. with some other events on Tax Day.”
Herman Cain, I really appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
John, thank you, my friend, and I look forward to seeing you again.