InterviewHerman Cain, CEO and President of THE New Voice, Inc.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 in Washington, DC
Cain spoke with DEMOCRACY IN ACTION at the National Press Club before an event organized by the Tea Party Express to reject charges of racism made against the Tea Party.
“...prayerful consideration is how I describe what I’m thinking about.”
Democracy in Action: Your name has been coming up in conjunction with some presidential speculation. Have you been thinking about it?
Cain: I have been
thinking about it. The term I use is "prayerful
consideration." I'm a man of faith, and you don't make a
life-changing decision like running for president without a lot of
prayer, first of all, as well as considering all of the practical
aspects. Will I be able to put together the grassroots
organization? I think the answer to that one is a slam dunk
"yes," because all of the organizations that I have been affiliated
throughout my career. Secondly, financial considerations.
I'm not able to self-fund a campaign, but I have been talking to a lot
of people around the country who have been expressing their support in
not only contributing but helping to raise money, because as you know
with the limitations on what one person can do, then you've got to have
a network of people who are out there helping you to raise the
money. So prayerful consideration is how I describe what I'm
Democracy in Action: And do you have a timeframe? I have to figure this out by such and such a...?
Cain: I hope to have a decision go/no go by the end of this calendar year, but I probably won't make any sort of formal announcement one way or the other until next year some time, maybe in the middle of 2010 .
Democracy in Action: What are some specific things you've done in addition to prayerful consideration? Have you visited some of these states like Iowa and New Hampshire, do you have plans to visit...?
Cain: I have spoken
at a tea party event in Iowa recently, I have spoken at an event in New
Hampshire, I have been to North Carolina for a Republican dinner, I've
spoken at an Americans for Prosperity event in Austin, Texas, I've
spoken at a number of events around the state of Georgia, where I'm
from. I live south of Atlanta. I've been to a number of
places around the country speaking to groups. I spoke in New
Orleans at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference. So
there are a number of groups and a number of places that I have been to
speak, and I didn't just start speaking when I started prayerful
consideration. I have been doing a lot of speaking in my career,
because right now, as you know I'm a radio talk show host as well as a
Democracy in Action:
So if you were to run, what would be the motivating force? Are
there three or four things you'd really want to push?
Cain: Yes. My
top three would be strengthening our national security. I don't
like, and a lot of people don't like, weakening our military, canceling
the missile defense system in Turkey--I think that weakens this
nation. I believe the Reagan philosophy that a strong defense is
an even stronger offense. And I don't like to see that
happening. I don't like to see our space program being
dramatically cut back, and things like that. Not when we are
wasting so much money in other areas. So first and foremost,
Secondly, the national economy. So goes the
national economy, so go state economies, so goes local economies, and
I don't believe that the policies that have been employed recently by
this Congress and this administration are working. They simply
are not working. And I believe that there are some low hanging
as I call it--I didn't come up with the ideas--others have come up with
the ideas like cutting the
payroll tax such that workers get an immediate injection of money and
businesses get an immediate injection of money. That's how you
stimulate the economy. Things like that; I call that low hanging
fruit. It just simply takes the will, it takes the will of
leadership and it just takes the will of the Congress, as a result of
the leadership to make those sort of things happen. So I firmly
believe in doing those kinds of things. And in addition to that I
do believe that we should for the time being stay at the current tax
rates, but ultimately cut these tax rates.
Ireland has a 12.5 percent corporate tax rate and
once they went to that 12.5 corporate tax rate, their economy
took off. Now they ran into some other problems, but their
economy took off. Zero capital gains--that's what they're doing
in China. Their economy isn't as big as ours, but it is growing
much faster than ours because there's a bigger incentive for people to
invest in their economy.
So national security, the economy, and then--the
third big one for me is, ah-- Well I have about ten so I'm going
to try to pick one and move it up to number three. Real energy
independence by unleashing the resources we have here. Regulation
is strangling the resources we have here. Because if we do not
get to energy independence and start to move in that direction, it also
becomes a national security issue. So those are three of my
Democracy in Action:
One other question. This whole idea that the system is
broken. Do you have any solutions for that? It seems like
there's just [a lot of] partisan back and forth; the tone is very
Cain: The system isn't broken.
The system is clogged up. The system is clogged up with
regulation; it's clogged up with bills and legislation that was passed
that we don't need any more. It's clogged up with too many
bureaucracies and little fiefdoms within those bureaucracies.
It's clogged up. It's not broken, it's clogged. So they way
you unclog it--
Democracy in Action:
Giant plunger, I guess?
Cain: You need a
giant plunger, right. We need some Washington, DC political
Democracy in Action:
What does that mean in concrete terms?
Cain: In concrete
terms what that means is you have to have leaders, you have to have
people in place that are willing to make the tough calls. For
example, the President has all of the different Cabinet
positions. You've got to have people in Cabinet positions that
are not afraid to take names and cut and restructure stuff. But
it starts with a tone being set by the President. Every business
that I've had to turn around in my business career, it started out with
having a very clear vision of what it was that you wanted to do and
then not being afraid to do it. So the system is clogged more so
than broken. And I believe that you can unclog it, but it's going
take a different type of leadership, and it's going to take someone who
is in the one position in our system of government, the one that can
single-handedly change things either for the worse or change things
either for the better about what goes on in Washington, DC is the
president. Five hundred and thirty five people--100 Senators and
435 Representatives, they're not going to do it. That's why the
Founders gave that kind of power to the president of the United
Democracy in Action: If you were to run you would go into this with the goal of not just making a point but winning or..?
Cain: Here's something that some
people know about me. If I run, I'm running to win, not just to
make a statement. Not just to make a statement. I make a
big statement on my radio show, and
all of the other shows that I substitute for. I would be running
to win if I made the decision to run.