Cain Camp Plans to Bulk Up on Issues

Tuesday, 18 Oct 2011 12:28 PM

By Dan Weil

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Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has flown up the polls in recent weeks, with several surveys showing him leading the field. But he still has to prove he’s more than a novelty act who will quickly fade, Politico reports. He has to show he’s running a campaign with real substance.

To be sure, the Cain campaign appears aware of the task standing before it.

Campaign manager Mark Block told Politico the organization is bringing policy advisers on board quickly. He said the campaign always planned to bulk up once it established traction. It has gone “from run to warp speed in the last three weeks” and is “expanding exponentially in every field,” Block said.

Some are skeptical, given that he has spent much of his time giving speeches, appearing on TV and publicizing his book rather than traversing the hustings in early primary/caucus states.

One area Cain will have to buck up on is the issues. In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza admitted he’s “not familiar with the neoconservative movement.” That would be a fairly embarrassing acknowledgement from a Democratic candidate, let alone a Republican.

And Cain said he’s a devotee of Henry Kissinger and John Bolton when it comes to foreign policy. But the two titans of diplomacy have vastly different world views.

“Very little in recent days suggests Cain is adequately prepared for the coming test on his understanding of foreign policy, on his advisers, and the origin of his most provocative ideas and, not to put too fine a point on it, on whether he has a factual command of issues equal to what would be expected of the typical congressional candidate,” Politico states.

Herman Cain in 2012? Vote Here Now

Cain’s off-the-cuff approach to issues could be appealing to disaffected voters. “He just has to connect with the American people, which he’s doing,” Cain’s chief economic adviser Rich Lowrie told Politico. “It’s a non-traditional campaign with a non-traditional candidate. We’re connecting with the grass roots, and he’s not really out to impress the media.”

The Cain campaign doesn’t see any need for change on that score. “We’re just making sure that Herman stays Herman,” Lowrie said.

But Cain may be in for strong attacks on policy matters from his fellow candidates, starting at Tuesday night’s debate.

In addition, the campaign has a ways to go in building an organization in the early primary/caucus states. His New Hampshire director, Charlie Spano, has never been paid for campaign work before.

Spano said Cain’s agenda in New Hampshire is “exercising a vigorous grass-roots effort. We’re building an organization with individuals both prominent and committed who are getting on the Cain train.”

Iowans have shown affection for Cain, but there’s not much of a campaign presence there, said Jeff Jorgensen, the Pottawatamie County GOP chairman and Cain’s best-known backer in the state.

Herman Cain in 2012? Vote Here Now

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