Despite his fifth-place showing in the Ames straw poll, Herman Cain remains optimistic about his chances to win the Republican presidential nomination. The former Godfather’s Pizza chief executive received just nine percent of the votes. First-place winner Rep. Michele Bachmann won the poll with 29 percent.
In an interview on CNN’s State of the Union, Cain essentially said that he was pleased with the poll’s outcome and that he got what he paid for, as did Bachmann.
“[First,] I want to congratulate her for winning, but she also put substantial funds into this straw poll. It was reported by one of her staffers this morning in an article that they had 40 buses. Well, we had four buses to bring people here, he said. “We spent zero on TV. We spent zero on the radio. And so this campaign is encouraged. And our momentum continues to grow.”
Cain, who says the skills he honed as a businessman would make him a better commander in chief than President Obama, said that he didn’t splash out on the straw poll because he’s running his campaign like a business and therefore not spending money before it comes in.
“Secondly, because of the grassroots nature of my campaign, and because of the way people are connecting with my message, it continues to gradually build. So it doesn't have these ups and downs and these ebbs and flows like some of the other campaigns, if you are dependent on moving it with media. No, we're moving it with message,” he said.
Although Cain has always been considered a long shot, his campaign started off on a relatively high note. His rhetorical flair struck a strong chord with Tea Party activists, he was declared by influential pollster Frank Luntz to be the winner of the first GOP debate in South Carolina and won the straw polls at the Tea Party Patriots convention in February and the March Conservative Values conference. Cain also remains popular among conservatives in Gallup “voter intensity” polls.
According to Jim Zeller, a former regional field director for Cain and one of five staffers who’ve left the campaign, Cain is more interested in the glamour of being a presidential candidate than the hard work involved in running a campaign.
“He’s not inquisitive. He wants to be in front of the adoring crowds, but he doesn’t seem to be interested in the issues,” Zeiler told Politico.
Former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, who placed a distant third in Saturday’s poll, announced on Sunday that he was ending his presidential bid. But Cain has vowed to soldier on because he believes he’s the candidate who has specific ideas about how to grow the economy, curb government spending and address immigration — a message he says is resonating with voters. In the CNN interview, he expressed confidence that he could win both the Republican nomination and the White House.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)