Herman Cain is a business executive, author, radio host, syndicated columnist, and Tea Party activist from Georgia. He is married with two children.
Cain has a bachelors degree in mathematics and a masters degree in computer science, which he earned while working for the Navy developing fire code systems for ships and fighter planes.
He went to work for Coca-Cola and then for Pillsbury Company. His success at Burger King, then a Pillsbury subsidiary, lead the company to appoint him chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza. Cain and others bought Godfather’s Pizza in a leveraged buyout in 1988. He resigned in 1996 to become politically active.
In the late 1990s he was CEO of the National Restaurant Association, a trade and lobbying group. They lobbied against increases to the minimum wage, mandatory health care benefits, regulations against smoking, and lowering the blood-alcohol limit that determines whether one is driving under the influence.
Cain also served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City for seven years, leaving in 1996. He served on other boards as well, including Nabisco, Whirlpool, and Reader’s Digest. He has received numerous honorary degrees.
Cain opposed President Clinton’s health care plan in 1993, confronting him at a town meeting in Kansas City. Jack Kemp met with Cain and the meeting sparked Cain’s interest in politics.
Cain served as economic advisor to Bob Dole during his presidential campaign. Cain briefly ran for president in 2000 and went on to endorse Steve Forbes. He ran for U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2004 but did not survive the primary.
Starting in 2005, Cain worked for Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group. In 2010 he addressed dozens of Tea Party rallies.
He announced his presidential candidacy in May 2011 and suspended it in December after allegations of sexual misconduct. He endorsed Gingrich and later Romney.
The Cain campaign was known for its 9-9-9 tax plan to replace the current code with a 9-percent business transactions tax, a 9-percent personal income tax, and a 9-percent federal sales tax.
The non-partisan Tax Policy Center said “Cain’s plan is a 25 percent flat-rate consumption tax... This tax would be paid three times: first on wage income, again at the cash register as a sales tax, and yet again by businesses on their sales minus their cost of goods and services. For tax junkies, the first is a flat tax. The second is a retail sales tax and the third a business transfer tax. But they are all consumption taxes.”
Republican presidential candidates attacked the plan in debates. Santorum referenced the Tax Policy Center's claim that 84% of Americans would pay more and that the plan would entail “major increases in taxes on people.”
Cain promotes deregulation of the energy industry and wants to use domestic sources of energy to make the U.S. less dependent on foreign oil, including drilling for oil in Alaska and along the Gulf Coast.
Cain is anti-abortion and against gay marriage. Has come under criticism for his remarks that he wouldn't be “comfortable” with a Muslim in his Cabinet. Cain has repeatedly remarked that the U.S. cannot act as a policeman for the world.
“I am an American. Black. Conservative. I don't use African-American, because I'm American, I'm black and I'm conservative. I don't like people trying to label me. African-American is socially acceptable for some people, but I am not some people.”
(June 13, 2011, interview with Bloomberg View’s Jeffrey Goldberg – Source)
“And many of the Muslims, they are not totally dedicated to this country. They are not dedicated to our Constitution. Many of them are trying to force Sharia law on the people of this country.”
(March 28, 2011, interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto – Source)
“Don't blame Wall Street, don't blame the big banks, if you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself. It is not someone's fault if they succeeded, it is someone's fault if they failed.”
(Oct. 5, 2011, interview with Wall Street Journal – Source)
“One of the questions that I often get is, 'Why are you running to be President?'. To be President! What did I miss? I'm not running to go to Disneyland. “
(Oct. 7, 2011, speech at the Values Voters Summit – Source)
“Now you will be called racist simply because you disagree with the President, who happens to be black. Well they call me racist too because I disagree with the President who happens to be black. Go figure. So mathematically, the only conclusion you can draw is that it ain't about color, it's about if you disagree with that liberal leader, then you must be a racist no matter what color you are. Well I got a breaking news announcement for you. You are not a racist; you are patriots because you're willing to stand up for what you believe in. Patriots.”
(Feb. 11, 2011, speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee convention – Source)
“One of the motivations was killing black babies, because they didn't want to deal with the problems of illiteracy and poverty.”
(July 18, 2004, on the formation of Planned Parenthood, Washington Post – Source)
“The American dream is under attack because our government has been hijacked by the liberals in Washington, D.C.”
“They want you to believe that they’re going to drag out enough prisoners and dead people to win the election. Well let me tell you a little secret. Conservatives that are alive outnumber the dead people and prisoners.”
(Oct. 15, 2010, Tea Party rally, Dayton, Ohio, Dayton Daily News – Source)