Former Godfather's Pizza CEO Herman Cain announced that he will run for president in 2012 at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta on Saturday.
The AP reports:
At the speech, Cain tried to build a foundation for his run for the White House. He said the American dream is under attack from runaway debt, a stagnant economy, a muddled foreign policy and an influx of illegal immigrants. He said Americans should be infuriated because the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus program "didn't stimulate diddly."
"It's time to get real, folks. Hope and change ain't working," he said. "Hope and change is not a solution. Hope and change is not a job."
"The past several months I have been able to meet with people across this country," says Cain in a message posted on his website. "One thing is clear: America craves for real solutions to the problems we face. That's why I'm running for President of the United States."
The newly-minted Republican presidential candidate alerted his supporters that he would be announcing his plans for the next election cycle earlier this week. He recorded a video message addressing his political ambitions and outlining his vision for the future of the country at the time and released a second clip announcing his candidacy on Saturday.
Cain may not be as well known as some of the other Republicans in the 2012 mix; however, he's found success in appealing to conservatives on the trail. He proved to be a smash hit at the first GOP presidential primary debate of the election season earlier this month in South Carolina. HuffPost's Sam Stein reported at the time:
Conservative messaging guru Frank Luntz polls crowds after big events for their instantaneous reaction. And in the case of the GOP presidential debate, the results were pretty remarkable (even though the whole thing is entirely unscientific).
The crowd of roughly 30 unanimously said that pizza magnate Herman Cain won the debate. Only one of them went into the evening supporting Cain. A clear majority -- citing his “straight talk” on the economy and his capacity to criticize the president -- said they would now support his presidential campaign.
“I have never had this kind of reaction until tonight,” said Luntz. “Something very special happened this evening.”
Cain won a straw poll conducted at a national Tea Party summit held in Arizona back in February. He also fired up the crowd in delivering a speech at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference.
The AP relays additional background on Cain:
Cain supports a strong national defense, opposes abortion, backs replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax and favors a return to the gold standard.
He's never held elected office, losing a three-way Republican U.S. Senate primary bid in Georgia in 2004 with one-quarter of the vote. His "Hermanator" political action committee has taken in just over $16,000 this year.
Cain launched a presidential exploratory committee earlier this year. It remains to be seen if he will find success in raising sufficient campaign funds to run a competitive operation.
With Mike Huckabee out of the race for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, three well-known politicians, Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, and Newt Gingrich, emerge as leaders in Republicans' preferences. Republicans, however, have less intensely positive feelings about these three than they did about Huckabee. Two less well-known potential candidates, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain, generate high levels of enthusiasm among Republicans who recognize them.
While recent polls don't show Cain to be running toward the front of the GOP presidential pack, Gallup notes:
He is recognized by 29% of Republicans and receives the highest Positive Intensity Score, based on those who know him, of any candidate measured. One-quarter of those familiar with Cain have a strongly favorable view, and only 1% have a strongly unfavorable view.
Below, the video message Cain released announcing his candidacy:
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