PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!
You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation.
Editor’s Note: This candidate entry was launched as part of our ongoing coverage of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. For more explanations, please read KYM Forum – Special Coverage of 2012 U.S. Election. If you’d like to get involved in improving this entry, please request editorship.
Herman Cain is an American businessman seeking the 2012 Republican nomination for President. He is a former CEO of a midwestern pizzeria chain as well as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Despite lacking professional experience in public service, Cain became a leading Republican candidate in October 2011, according to the polls.
Herman Cain launched his personal website on February 1st, 1997, in promoting his first published book “Leadership is Common Sense.” For more biographical information on Herman Cain, please read the section below on
Herman Cain first rose onto America’s mainstream politics in May 2011 with his announcement of candidacy in the Republican Party’s nomination for the 2012 U.S. presidential election. As of November 2011, his official Facebook fan page has over 330,000 likes and over 77,000 people talking about him. He tweets at as THEHermanCain, where he has over 153,000 followers. On November 3rd, 2011, Qorvis Communications announced that Cain’s Twitter account was worth $20,075, about $500 more than his competitor Mitt Romney. In the month of October, Cain’s followers grew 68%, double the increase of Romney. A parody Twitter account, theHERMANCALN, uses a lowercase L to look like an I in his last name. It has over 3000 followers.
Misquoting Donna Summer
In his closing statements at the Republican presidential debate on August 11th, 2011, Cain repeated a quote that he claimed a poet once said: “life can be a challenge, life can seem impossible, but it’s never easy when there’s so much on the line.” He had made the mistake twice previously, on May 21st, during his official campaign announcement and June 21st, at the Republican Leadership Conference, attributing the quote to the closing song from the 2000 Olympics.
The song he quoted was actually a Donna Summer song, The Power of One. Released in 2000, it was the theme song from the Pokemon: The Movie 2000. When announcing the suspension of his campaign, Cain repeated this quote, this time prefacing it with “I believe these words came from the Pokemon movie.”
Imagine There’s No Pizza
In 1991, Herman Cain was filmed singing a parody of John Lennon’s “Imagine” at a Godfather’s company event at the Omaha Press Club, changing the lyrics to be about Pizza. It was initially shared by Omaha.com on October 11th, 2011. It was reuploaded by several different users to YouTube Twitter users starting posting other song titles under the hashtag #HermanCainPizzaJams, which became a trending topic in the US.
Commentary on Occupy Wall Street
Cain came under fire when he spoke about the Occupy Wall Street movement, saying that people should “blame themselves” for not being wealthy. A Quickmeme page with image macros criticizing Cain’s stance on the movement was created, as well as a response skit on the Daily Show.
I don’t have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration. 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.
“9-9-9” Tax Plan
Herman Cain announced his tax plan, referred to as “9 9 9,” in early October 2011. It would reform federal tax code, involving a 9% flat tax rate on individuals and businesses, as well as a national retail sales tax. This plan would effectively remove payroll and death taxes, but would also make the income tax a flat rate: taking 9% from people making $20,000 a year as well as people making $20 million a year. Many people criticized this plan, including the Huffington Post who noticed that the plan bore a striking similarity to the default tax settings in the game SimCity 4.
A visual representation of the tax reform plan by Jared Bernstein showed that only the top 20% of US citizens would be receiving a tax break with this plan, and of them, the top 0.1% would be saving $1,356,078 in taxes a year.
Mark Block’s Smoking Ad
The Cain campaign launched an advertisement on October 19th, 2011 featuring Mark Block, Cain’s Chief of Staff. After Block endorses Cain’s he signs off by calmly smoking a cigarette. The ad also closed with a closeup on Herman Cain smiling in a manner similar to the My Body is Ready image macro. It got attention for its eccentricity, Cain’s smoking campaign ad has sparked conversations about the intentions behind the ad.
In less than two weeks, the video was viewed over 1.4 milion times. The virality of the video was noted by the Huffington Post, who stated that political videos like Obama Girl and Block’s endorsement have become a driving force in political campaigns. With help from all the buzz the smoking ad generated, Cain was able to raise $3 million dollars in the month of October.
Pizza Cain Tumblr
Since the beginning of the campaign, Herman Cain has been consistently associated with pizza through captioned photos and photoshopped images, given his previous experience as the CEO of a large pizza restaurant chain.
Although jokes about Herman Cain and pizza have been explored through the Herman Cain image macro series on Quickmeme, the theme became most prominent through the single topic Tumblr PIZZACAIN. Launched on November 16th, the site features a variety of photoshopped images depicting Herman Cain with pizza. The blog was covered by Canadian TV channel Bite.
“I’m a Leader, Not a Reader”
While doing an interview with the Milwaukee-Journal Sentinel on November 14th, Cain stumbled when asked about American foreign policy towards Libya. Visibly flustered, Cain asked the interviewer to recap what happened in the country before cutting himself off and saying “I got all this stuff twirling around in my head.” On the following day, he explained his moment of confusion by stating “I’m not supposed to know anything about foreign policy,” which has been since quoted by numerous news publications and political blogs.
Following the news coverage of his interview gaffe, Cain cancelled a meeting with New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, Union Leader, less than an hour before the scheduled interview on November 17th. Additionally, at a rally in Nashua, New Hampshire, he addressed the situation by saying no official can know all the details about every situation across the globe and that America needs “a leader, not a reader.” Several sites including Buzzfeed, Uproxx, Mediaite and Business Insider noted that this phrase was eerily similar to one spoken by the President in The Simpsons Movie: “I was elected to lead, not to read.”
2012 Campaign Suspension
On December 3rd, 2011, the Georgia businessman Herman Cain announced that he will be suspending his presidential campaign after a series of sexual harassment charges have brought his ratings down from the lead in the polls. Despite his decision to suspend the campaign on the road, Cain insisted that he will continue to promote his policy positions and “eventually endorse another candidate” for the nomination, according to the Associated Press.
Stephen Colbert Endorses Herman Cain
On January 16th, 2012, cable TV pundit Stephen Colbert endorsed Herman Cain in an ad released by Colbert Super PAC, a satirical organization that he had formed in the previous week after coming out ahead of Jon Huntsman in a hypothetical poll. After announcing his exploratory committee for the upcoming South Carolina primary race, Colbert was forced to relinquish control of his Super PAC to Jon Stewart, who then renamed the group to “The Definitely Not Coordinating with Stephen Colbert Super PAC.” In the advertisement, Colbert parodies Cain’s slow grin that became the butt of a joke his controversial “cigarette-smoking” campaign ad:
However, since the filling deadline for placement in the ballot has already passed and South Carolina does not allow write-ins, Colbert revealed that he will instead endorse Herman Cain, a candidate who had virtually withdrawn from the race.
Colbert’s shoutout to Reddit was near instantly picked up by the online community and the thread titled “Colbert just gave a reddit shoutout, to vote for Herman Cain” was featured on the site’s frontpage.
On July 2nd, 2012, a teaser trailer was released via Facebook for CainTV, an online video network with programming related to pop culture, politics and entertainment and the brainchild of former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain. The trailer featured short introductions to the network’s low-budget conservative shows including children’s cartoons, news and documentaries. The following day, The Huffington Post published an article titled “Herman Cain’s New TV Network is Blowing Our Minds”, which highlighted the trailer by comparing it to an “acid-trip.”
On July 4th, CainTV was officially launched with the release of three episodes for We Are Not Stupid, a commentary video blog series hosted by Herman Cain, in which he appeases to the Tea Party audiences in defense of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The same day, the Internet culture news blog The Daily Dot published an article titled “Herman Cain Launches Online Video Network”, which reported that the official CainTV Facebook page had accumulated over 500 new fans in the 24 hours leading up to launch. In addition to the web series, CainTV’s blog also offers a daily news digest section called Daily Briefings, which offers a summary of current events in U.S. politics and international relations.
Sexual Harassment Accusations
National Restaurant Association Employees
On October 30th, 2011, Politico published an exclusive story stating that while Cain was the head of the National Restaurant Association, two separate female employees had complained that Cain had exhibited sexually suggestive behavior. Though their names had not been released, the source said they had received payouts to leave the company, which also prohibited them from talking about their departures.
Cain’s campaign issued a statement calling the allegations “thinly sourced,” arguing that they were “unsubstantiated personal attacks.” On October 31st, 2011, Cain spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, publicly claiming he knew nothing about the payouts and concluded his talk by singing a hymn seeking forgiveness from the public. On November 4th, the National Restaurant Association acknowledged that at least one formal internal complaint had been filed in July 1999. The initial accuser was identified as Karen Kraushaar on November 8th, 2011 by iPad news source the Daily and was confirmed by NPR.
A fourth accuser, Sharon Bialek, held a press conference on November 7th, citing an incident between her and Cain in 1997. She is the first of the accusers to go public with her story. She sought out Cain’s business advice while actively seeking a job with a state restaurant association. During at meeting at the Capitol Hilton bar in Washington, D.C., Cain allegedly put his hand on Bialek’s leg then under her skirt, and attempted to pull her head towards his crotch.
Bialek is represented by Gloria Allred, the lawyer who played a vital role in the Anthony Weiner scandal earlier this year. After the press conference, a spokesperson for Cain’s campaign, J.D. Gordon, issued a statement saying that “All allegations of harassment against Mr. Cain are completely false. Mr Cain has never harassed anyone.”
Cain came to his defense that same night on the Jimmy Kimmel show, calling all four accusations “totally fabricated.” The LA Times reported that Cain seemed almost happy about the scandal -- he bragged about have the “highest fundraising day online in the history of this campaign” the day it broke. He also spoke to ABC News on November 8th, claiming he didn’t recognize Sharon Bialek before before stating “I don’t even know who this lady is.”
Additionally, the campaign sent out an email blast that day with personal information about Bialek’s finances and work history. Cain held a press conference about the allegations the same day and further denied knowing Bialek, calling her a “troubled woman produced by the Democrat machine” to interrupt his campaign. He also vowed he would not pull out of the 2012 race.
On November 28th, Atlanta resident Ginger White came forward with allegations that she and Cain had an extramarital affair for 13 years. She revealed that Cain had also been giving her money monthly from the 1990s until eight months ago, which Cain later admitted his wife Gloria was not informed about. On December 1st, White publicly apologized to Gloria for any grief she had caused.
To offset the negative feedback from both the harassment and affair allegations, Cain launched two new subdomains on December 1st, 2011. The first, Encouragement for Herman Cain, allows users to submit reasons why they feel Cain should stay in the race.
The second page, Women for Herman Cain is claimed to be run by his wife Gloria. Here, submitted messages of encouragement from only female supporters are highlighted. However, the site was ill-received, with the NY Daily News and the Daily Kos critiquing the harsh language used to describe Cain’s accusers. These testimonials call the women accusing Cain of harassment “pathetic husbandless women” and “stalkers who try to latch on to any man.” The site initially used stock photography in its header, which the Atlantic found appearing on several other web pages, but it has since been taken down. A parody site, Men for Cain, was created the same day.
Herman Cain was born on December 13th, 1945 in Atlanta, Georgia, which was segregated at the time. He graduated from Morehouse College with a degree in Mathematics in 1967. He began working as a civilian employee for the Navy developing fire-control systems for ships. While working for the Navy, Cain earned his Master’s degree in computer science from Purdue University in 1971. After graduating, he accepted a position as a computer systems analyst for the Coca-Cola Company.
In 1986, Cain was named as the CEO and President of Godfather’s Pizza, a casual Italian restaurant chain based out of Nebraska which was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Within 14 months, he was able to make the company profitable again, later working with a group to purchase the brand from its first owner Pillsbury in 1990. He kept his position at Godfather’s until 2002.
Cain sought the Republican candidacy initially in the 2000 election, considering himself the “better messenger” than George W. Bush. On October 10th, 2011, Cain announced that God told him to run for Presidential office.
Sexual Harassment Scandal
On November 17th, 2011, Herman Cain’s spokesman J.D. Gordon announced that he would be protected by United States Secret Service agents for the duration of the campaign. Gordon said the campaign sought out the extra security after the Washington Post reported on several physical altercations that have taken place at Cain events over the past several weeks. This marks the first time a candidate was approved for Secret Service monitoring.
Cain was rumored to be reconsidering running for the Presidential nomination on November 29th, 2011, and planned for an announcement on December 3rd after meeting with his wife. During this press conference, he suspended his Presidential campaign, but also stated that he “will not be silenced and I’m not going away.” Users on Twitter responded to this news by using the hashtag #CainWreck to describe Cain’s campaign.
Herman Cain’s wife, Gloria, has chosen not to be involved in her husband’s campaign, refusing interview requests and generally staying out of the spotlight. The two have been married for 43 years, yet she has refrained from making statements in support of her husband, specifically in reference to the sexual harassment accusations. Most public information about her is from the three and a half page chapter on her in Cain’s book, “This Is Herman Cain! My Journey to the White House.” In the wake of his harassment scandal, Gloria cancelled an interview with Fox News scheduled for November 3rd, 2011 stating that it was not the time to share her opinion on the issue. It was rescheduled for November 14th, 2011.
Business Insider – Twitter Explodes with Mockery Over Herman Cain’s New Viral Video
Freedom Works – Herman Cain’s “999 Plan”: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
New York Magazine – The Mystery of Herman Cain and the Donna Summer Lyrics
Los Angeles Times – New accuser to go public with charges against Herman Cain
Los Angeles Times – Late Night: Herman Cain, on ‘Jimmy Kimmel,’ denies harassment
Huffington Post – Herman Cain On Sharon Bialek: ‘I Don’t Even Know Who This Lady Is’
Huffington Post – Herman Cain Stumbles On Libya Questions (VIDEO) [UPDATED]
Washington Post – Cain campaign reviewing security after reporter skirmishes
NY Daily News – Herman Cain launches ‘Women for Herman Cain’ Website