Herman Cain (born December 13, 1945) is an American businessman, politician, columnist, and radio host from Georgia. He is the former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and a former deputy chairman (1992–94) and chairman (1995–96) of the board of directors to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Before his business and economics career he worked as a mathematician in ballistics for the United States Navy. Cain’s newspaper column is distributed by North Star Writers Group. He lives in the Atlanta suburbs, where he also serves as a minister at Antioch Baptist Church North. In 2006, Cain was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer in both his colon and his liver. Cain underwent surgery and chemotherapy following the diagnosis, and has since reported that he is cancer-free.
In January 2011, Cain announced he had formed an exploratory committee for a potential presidential campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, and on May 21, 2011, Cain officially announced his candidacy.
Cain was born in Memphis, Tennessee, on December 13,1945, the son of Lenora (née Davis) and Luther Cain, Jr. His mother was a cleaner and his father was a chauffeur. He was raised in Georgia. He graduated from Morehouse College in 1967 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and received a Master of Science degree in computer science from Purdue University in 1971,while he was also working full-time in ballistics for the U.S. Department of the Navy.
Food & Beverage Business
After completing his master’s degree from Purdue, Cain left the Navy and began working for The Coca-Cola Company as a business analyst. In 1977, he joined Pillsbury where he rose to the position of Vice President by the early 1980s. He left his executive post to work for Burger King – a Pillsbury subsidiary at the time – managing 400 stores in the Philadelphia area. Under Cain’s leadership, his region went from the least profitable for Burger King to the most profitable in three years. This prompted Pillsbury to appoint him President and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, another of their then-subsidiaries. Within 14 months, Cain had returned Godfather’s to profitability. In 1988, Cain and a group of investors bought Godfather’s from Pillsbury. Cain continued as CEO until 1996, when he resigned to become CEO of the National Restaurant Association – a trade group and lobby organization for the restaurant industry – where he had previously been chairman concurrently with his role at Godfather’s.
Cain serves as a commentator for Fox Business; he is also a syndicated columnist distributed by the North Star Writers Group. Until February 2011, Cain hosted The Herman Cain Show on Atlanta talk radio station News Talk 750 WSB, a Cox Radio affiliate. In 2009, Cain founded “Hermanator’s Intelligent Thinkers Movement” (HITM), aimed at organizing 100,000 activists in every Congressional district in the United States in support of a strong national defense, the FairTax, tax cuts, energy independence, capping government spending, and restructuring Social Security.
Cain has authored four books: Leadership is Common Sense (1997), Speak as a Leader (1999), CEO of SELF (October 2001), and They Think You’re Stupid (May 2005).
Herman Cain first took a leadership role in politics as the Chairman of the National Restaurant Association – a trade group and lobby organization for the restaurant industry. In 1996, he resigned from Godfather’s Pizza to become the full-time CEO of the association.
Cain became a member of the board of directors to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 1992 and served as its chairman from January 1995 to August 1996, when he resigned to become active in national politics. Cain was a 1996 recipient of the Horatio Alger Award.
Cain publicly opposed the 1993/1994 health care plan of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton. As president-elect of the National Restaurant Association, he challenged Bill Clinton on the costs of the employer mandate contained within the bill and criticizing its effect on small businesses. Cain has been described as one of the primary “saboteurs” of the plan:
The Clintons would later blame “Harry and Louise,” the fictional couple in the ads aired by the insurance industry, for undermining health reform. But the real saboteurs are named Herman and John. Herman Cain is the president of Godfather’s Pizza and president-elect of the National Restaurant Association. An articulate black entrepreneur, Cain transformed the debate when he challenged Clinton at a town meeting in Kansas City, Mo., last April. Cain asked the president what he was supposed to say to the workers he would have to lay off because of the cost of the “employer mandate.” Clinton responded that there would be plenty of subsidies for small businessmen, but Cain persisted. “Quite honestly, your calculation is inaccurate,” he told the president. “In the competitive marketplace it simply doesn’t work that way.”
Cain was a senior economic advisor to the Dole/Kemp Presidential campaign in 1996.
Cain briefly ran for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000; he says it was more about making political statementsthan winning the nomination. ”George W. Bush was the chosen one, he had the campaign DNA that followers look for.” However, Cain went on to state, “I believe that I had a better message and I believe that I was the better messenger.”
2004 U.S. Senate Candidacy
In 2004, Cain ran for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, pursuing the seat that came open with the retirement of Democrat Zell Miller. Cain sought the Republican nomination, facing congressmen Johnny Isakson and Mac Collins in the primary. Cain and Collins both hoped to deny Isakson a majority on primary day in order to force him into a runoff. Collins tried to paint Cain as a moderate, citing Cain’s support for affirmative action programs, while Cain argued that he was a conservative, noting that he opposed the legality of abortion even in cases of rape and incest. Cain finished second in the primary with 26.2% of the vote, ahead of Collins, who won 20.6%, but because Isakson won 53.2% of the vote, Isakson was able to avoid a runoff.
2012 Presidential Candidacy
In 2010, “Cain addressed more than 40 Tea Party rallies, hit all the early presidential states, and became a YouTube sensation.” In April, he teased the audience at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference about his being a possible 2012 presidential candidate by saying that there may be a “dark horse candidate.” On September 24, 2010, Cain
announced that he was considering a run for president in 2012 on the Republican Party ticket.
Cain supports a non-federally subsidized efficient economic stimulus, saying: “We could grow this economy faster if we had bolder, more direct stimulus policies,” criticizing President Barack Obama‘s stimulus plan as simply a “spending bill” instead of meaningful stimulus through permanent tax cuts.
Personal and Social Policies
A number of comments made by Cain regarding his attitudes towards Muslim people have caused controversy. He has stated that he was “uncomfortable” when he found that the surgeon operating on his liver and colon cancer was Muslim, later explaining “based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them”. Following a number of such comments, he was asked in March 2011 if he would feel comfortable appointing a Muslim to his administration or as a Judge. Cain said “No, I will not … There’s this creeping attempt, there’s this attempt, to gradually ease Shariah Law, and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government” and he went on to cite court cases in Oklahoma and New Jersey as evidence. He was criticized for this remark by conservatives at Grover Norquist’s weekly Wednesday Gatherings, one of whom called the remark “frightening.” Cain’s statement was also criticized as “bigotry” and “muslim bashing” from CAIR, whose spokesperson stated “It would be laughable if it weren’t having such a negative impact on the lives of Muslim Americans”. Cain opposed the building of an Islamic Center for a Muslim community at a site in Tennessee, claiming that it was “an infringement and an abuse of our freedom of religion” and “just another way to try to gradually sneak Shariah law into our laws”. Defending himself against the suggestion that this would be bigotry or discrimination during an interview with Chris Wallace, he defended his position, saying “I’m willing to take a harder look at people who might be terrorists, that’s what I’m saying”.
In an interview with Bloomberg view, Cain argued that he is a ‘black American’ rather than an ‘African American’ on account of being able to trace his ancestors within the US, describing Barack Obama as “more of an international…look, he was raised in Kenya, his mother was white from Kansas and her family had an influence on him, it’s true, but his dad was Kenyan”. Interviewer Jeffrey Goldberg pointed out that Obama had spent 4 years of his childhood abroad, and that it was in Indonesia – not Kenya, at which point Cain revised his claim.
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