Herman 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 with 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 thinking about.

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 [2011].

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 professional speaker.

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, national security.

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 fruit 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 priorities.

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 negative.

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 Ex-Lax.  [laughs]

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 to 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 States. 

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.