Fast-rising GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO emerging as a strong contender in the Iowa caucuses, blasted President Barack Obama’s leadership abilities in an exclusive Newsmax interview, saying Obama “could not run one Godfather’s pizza restaurant.”
Cain, who has been rising fast in the polls after his impressive showing in last month’s presidential debate in South Carolina, called the president an indecisive leader who has lost most Americans' confidence.
“The president has demonstrated that he lacks leadership in a whole lot of ways [and] could not run a company,” Cain told Newsmax. “And I don’t mean to be disrespectful: He could not run one Godfather’s pizza restaurant.
“Instead of being decisive, he dithers,” Cain said. “Instead of having a management structure where he can entrust to some key people responsibility, he has an organization that is unmanageable. When he added 36 czars to go with the ones he already inherited, that is an unmanageable structure. So nobody knows who’s in charge."
Although GOP attacks charging Obama with weak leadership have been muted since the successful U.S. operation to take out Osama bin Laden, those complaints have resurfaced with the growing frustration over the lack of a plausible plan from the administration on reining in entitlements and deficit spending.
“So he’s not decisive, he dithers. He has a structure that doesn’t work,” Cain said. “He’s inconsistent, and he’s broken a lot of promises, and he is losing the confidence not only of a lot of his supporters, but has lost clearly a lot of confidence from the American people.”
Cain, a conservative talk-show host and a respected voice in management circles, is a turnaround specialist who is credited with saving Godfather’s Pizza from bankruptcy during his tenure as its CEO. Cain also served a stint as chairman of the National Restaurant Association, and was chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City from 1995-1996.
Cain’s broadside against Obama might have gone unnoticed before his abrupt emergence on the national political scene. A new Public Policy Polling survey released Wednesday shows Cain is now tied with former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Iowa, behind only former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who officially announced his candidacy on Thursday.
Palin and Cain each had 15 percent, compared with 21 percent for Romney. Unlike Cain, however, Palin has yet to toss her hat in the ring.
The Public Policy survey was the third poll in the past week showing Cain near the top of the GOP heap — all the more impressive considering that he’s still battling relatively low levels of name recognition.
Other highlights from Cain’s exclusive Newsmax interview:
- Regarding criticism that he has stumbled over foreign policy issues, Cain openly concedes: “That’s a legitimate criticism of me.” But his common-sense experience and problem-solving skills, he says, can overcome any lack of foreign-policy expertise. “People need to keep in mind: What president has ever taken office who knew everything?” Cain asks. He says that he plans to surround himself with foreign-policy experts, and will ask the right questions to pursue a common-sense approach.
- Cain believes the Obama administration has greatly exaggerated the impact failing to raise the debt ceiling would have on the U.S. economy. Cain says that he would consider furloughing federal employees and temporarily shutting down some government operations, rather than increasing the government’s authority to borrow more money, about half of which comes from foreign governments. “I would furlough some federal employees. This is what a businessman does, when it comes to having to save a business,” he says. “You do what you have to do, and make some tough choices.”
- He reiterates that he had no problem with the concept of a TARP program to save the banking system from a global financial meltdown. But the implementation of TARP, he says, “was a disaster,” adding: “They picked winners and losers, they used the money for things other than banks, they tried to force money on banks that didn’t want it. The administration used it purely as a discretionary tool.”
- He predicts that the GOP presidential nominee will be a grass-roots conservative, rather than an establishment Republican. As evidence of the strength of the grass-roots fervor shaping the political process, he tells Newsmax that donations to his campaign “have gone up dramatically.”
Cain tells Newsmax he now has “almost 175,000 online volunteers ready to go to work for the Herman Cain presidential campaign.”
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